WASHINGTON (Dec. 30)
The Polish Embassy has given assurances that work is proceeding on memorializing Umschlagplatz in Warsaw, the place of deportation for more than a half million Warsaw Jews to Nazi death camps, and the gravesite of more than 300 Jews, mostly children in the village of Pysznica, near Treblinka.
Polish Ambassador Romald Spasaski has written Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) that the “works have already started to restore the mass grave” at Pysznica. He wrote “the surrounding area was leveled and fenced. The memorial stone commemorating the victims of Nazi activities is also being prepared.”
Bronislaw Stowinski, the first secretary for information at the Embassy, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “work already has started” on Umschlagplatz where only a small plaque has marked the site and a gas station was built. The Polish government has given assurances to Elie Wiesel, chairman of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, it would refurbish the site.
Holtzman appealed to the State Department and the Polish Embassy to memorialize the Pysznica gravesite after Morris Krantz, a survivor of Treblinka, was unable to persuade Polish authorities to do it. Holtzman’s office reported that as a teenager in 1942, Krantz “saw almost the entire Jewish population of Pysznica sent to concentration camps. Krantz, himself, was sent to Treblinka, but later escaped. He hid in the woods along with other Jewish children. One by one, these children were caught and executed and buried in a mass grave in a field near Pysznica.
“Krantz witnessed exterminations from his hiding place in the woods. For 37 years he has been determined that this sad burial ground not go unnoticed. In 1974, he learned from friends that the site has become a littered dump….He went to Poland and pleaded with the authorities. Promising a marker, they did nothing.” Krantz then turned to Holtzman for aid.