JEDWABNE, Poland (JTA) — A 1941 pogrom in the Polish town of Jedwabne was commemorated at the site of the atrocity.
Representatives of the Jewish community and local residents came out for Friday’s ceremony to remember the hundreds of Jews who were killed on July 10, 1941, by dozens of their Jedwabne neighbors.
Yitzhak Levin, an Israeli with roots from Jedwabne, said the Mourner’s Kaddish, and Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich read Psalm 23 and the El Malei Rachamim prayer.
Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Anna Azari, also spoke.
“I’m lucky to meet in Poland very good people, the righteous and those who do a lot for Jewish history and culture,” Azari said. “We need to look in the mirror of history and remember what is good and what is bad.
“Some say that the book by Jan Tomasz Gross, ‘Neighbors,’ or movies such as ‘Ida’ and ‘Aftermath’ are bad for the image of Poland. I think that it is not true. Authors like them are an honor for good and democratic Poland.”
In the Jedwabne pogrom, most of the victims were burned alive in a barn. The massacre was one of several that summer committed by ordinary Poles against Jews.
Anna Chipczynska, president of the Jewish Community of Warsaw, stressed that the sites of mass murder are inviolable. She noted the connection to the exhumation of a mass grave in Wasosz, located 100 miles east of Warsaw, the site of a mass attack in September 1941 on its Jewish community, planned for this fall by the Institute of National Remembrance.