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Study of Destruction of Grodno’s Jewry Presented to Yad Vashem

A five-volume documented study of the destruction of the Jewish community of Grodno, a city in northeast Poland, was presented to the Yad Vashem Archives Sunday by Nazi-hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld.

The study includes trial and pre-trial documents from war crimes proceedings conducted in West Germany which the German authorities had refused to release until now. The Klarsfelds told a press conference that they are “the most important collection on the Holocaust ever put together.”

The volumes are collectively titled “Documents Concerning the Destruction of the Jews of all of the major documentation centers on the Nazi era and war criminal archives.

Of the 35,000 Jews in the Grodno ghetto who were deported to Auschwitz and Treblinka, 70 survived. One of the survivors, Felix Sandman, who testified at the trials of the Gestapo commanders in charge of the ghetto, told the press conference that he had asked the German government at the time to release the trial documents, but was refused. He said he appealed to Klarsfeld who eventually succeeded in obtaining the documents.

Five English non-Jews who saved Sandman’s life were honored by trees planted in their names Sunday in the “Avenue of Righteous Gentiles” of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.

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