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Poland Marks Warsaw Ghetto Liquidation

Poland will mark, for the first time in history, the deportation of 250,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to the extermination camp Treblinka. Events throughout the city will take place on Sunday to coincide with the date that, some seventy years ago, the Warsaw Ghetto was cleared out and gas chambers at Treblinka were activated.

The main event, a mass procession called “From Death to Life” will be dedicated to children who were sent to their deaths. Marchers will start off at the famous Umschlagplatz, where victims boarded trains to death camps and made their way to Janusz Korczak’s famous orphanage. Each participant will receive a colored ribbon bearing the name of a child murdered by the Nazis. Some participants will be able to write on their ribbon the name of a child they are familiar with – either personally or through literature.

On the same day a memorial will be held for Adam Czerniaków, the head of the Jewish council at the Warsaw Ghetto, who on July 22, 1942 committed suicide when he understood the scope of the exterminations. Even though the Warsaw Ghetto was cleared out in 1942 and Jews were transferred to Treblinka, it remained standing until it was destroyed in the Spring of 1943.

Among the memorial events will also be an exhibition at the prestigious gallery in the heart of Warsaw, which will open on Sunday afternoon, and display the drawings of an unknown artist named Rozenfeld (his first name is unknown). The drawings, which describe the reality of the closed quarter, were preserved in the archive of the Polish-Jewish historian Emanuel Ringelblum. The exhibition is sponsored by Piotr Żuchowski.

That evening, a public concert of Jewish music will take place in a street that before the Holocaust was a central vein of the Jewish quarter. On the program are ancient works, songs of our times along with Sephardi tunes.

Sunday’s events are the results of an initiative by the Institute of Jewish History and the joint efforts of almost all the Polish-Jewish organizations in Warsaw. The largest newspaper of the capital city, “Gazeta Wyborcza,” is accompanying the events with a series of articles and photographs on the Holocaust. According to the newspaper, the director of the Treblinka museum, Irena Grzesiak-Olszewska, has sadly stated that school students show minimal interest in the extermination camp and that authorities are unwilling to take necessary measures to maintain roads leading to the camp.

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