Thousands Attend Unveiling of Monument in Treblinka for Martyred Jews
Menu JTA Search

Thousands Attend Unveiling of Monument in Treblinka for Martyred Jews

Download PDF for this date

With most solemn rites concluded with the recitation of the Kaddish and El Moleh Rachmim, 15, 000 to 18, 000 persons, including a large delegation of Jewish leaders from abroad, participated here yesterday in the dedication of a monument to 800, 000 Jews murdered at the infamous Treblinka concentration camp and gas chambers by the Nazis.

The ceremonies took four hours, during which impassioned addresses were delivered by Polish officials and a leader of the Polish Jewish community. Two hundred wreaths were laid at the foot of the monument by various official participants ranging from representatives of Polish Jewish youth clubs to Dr. Nahum Goldmann. The latter had come here on invitation of the Polish authorities as president of the World Jewish Congress and chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Many leaders agreed that the unveiling of the imposing monument was the most impressive commemorative event conducted in this country since 1948, when the monument to the Warsaw Ghetto rebellion was dedicated on the edge of that ghetto in Poland’s capital.

The monument, situated on the very spot where the gas ovens had stood, and beneath which the ashes of hundreds of thousands of martyred Jews were interred by the Nazis, features a large stone holding a huge menorah. Surrounding the central stone are smaller stones, symbolic of thousands of tombstones. These are engraved with the names of all cities and villages from which the Polish Jewish victims of Treblinka had been rounded up.

A group of 11 stones symbolizes the 11 countries in Europe from which the Nazis had brought Jews here for murder. Railroad tracks are depicted, reminiscent of the means of transport wherewith the Jews were brought here, directly to the gas ovens. At the entrance to the monument, there are inscriptions in six languages, including Yiddish, noting the fact that, here, 800, 000 Jews had been murdered by the Nazis.

Treblinka is only one–but the most important–of a series of monuments being erected in various parts of Poland by the Council for the Protection of Monuments to Resistance and Martyrdom, marking the sites where Nazi atrocities and mass murders had been committed. Two miles from this monument to the Jewish dead, another memorial was unveiled later yesterday in honor of 10, 000 Poles executed by the Nazis at that spot.


High Polish military and civilian officials took part in the ceremonies with Dr. Goldmann a participant in the official unveiling. Delegations and special guests had come to the rites from at least 10 countries. From early morning, many thousands of Jews and Poles, with Jewish youth clubs prominent among them, came here by bus, bicycle and other means of transport to attend the ceremonies.

The principal addresses were delivered by Prof. Stanislaw Turski, rector of Warsaw University, who is chairman of the committee of monument patrons; Vice Minister Janusz Wieczorek, president of the Council for Protection of Monuments to the Resistance and Martyrdom; and Salof Sishground, representing the Social and Cultural Association of the Jews in Poland. A military hand had opened the proceedings with solemn music.

Diplomatic representatives participating in the rites included Israel’s Ambassador D. Sappath, and his entire staff; the Ambassadors from Austria and Greece; and representatives from the embassies of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Among the Jewish representatives from abroad, in addition to Dr. Goldmann, were Dr. Moises Goldman, of Buenos Aires, representing the organized Jewish communities of Argentina; Dr. Gerhard M. Riegner, World Jewish Congress director of coordination at Geneva; Armand Kaplan, of Paris, director of the French section of the WJC.

Also, Charles Jordan and Akiva Kahane, representing the Joint Distribution Committee; Sir Barnett Janner, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; James P. Rice, executive director of United Hias Service, and G. Jacobson, that organization’s European director; Dr. Moses Rosen, chief rabbi of Rumania; Dr. Erwin Hayman, of Geneva; Frantisek Ehrmann, president of the Jewish Community of Prague; and Dr. Bruno Kaplan, of Stockholm, representing the Swedish Treblinka Committee. There were also representatives of the Jewish Community of Vienna and of the Workmen’s Circle and the Memorial Committee of London.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund