Some 76 years after they were murdered by Nazi troops, a mass grave of an estimated 20 Jews was marked with a matzeivah in a village in eastern Poland.
The site was only uncovered a few weeks ago and on Tuesday a group, led by the country’s chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich, unveiled the monument in the village of Adamow.
“It is never too late pay respects to Jews killed in the Shoah,” Rabbi Schudrich told Hamodia on his way back from the ceremony. “We have an obligation to find as many graves as we can and to honor them as best we can.”
According to local elderly townspeople who remembered the incident, a group of 20 Jews had been brought to the town to do forced labor picking crops. In August 1943, a group of SS troops that were stationed in the nearby city of Zamosc visited the village and summarily executed the group of Jews in the woods on the outskirts of Adamow, placing them in a mass grave.
The discovery of the site was the work of Zbiszik Nizinski, a non-Jewish Pole who has made it a personal project to locate lost graves of Holocaust victims. Traveling extensively in Poland’s eastern region by bicycle, Mr. Nizinski speaks with elderly locals in villages and towns in an effort to locate forgotten graves of martyrs. Working together with Rabbi Schudrich, they have built monuments at some 55 sites over the last 13 years.
In Adamow, an 86-year-old woman told Mr. Nizinski of the site, which was later confirmed by several other people who were alive at the time. The woman said that her father and uncle had been among a group that was forced to bury the Jews. At the ceremony, she said that while her father could barely bring himself to speak of the event, he said that groans of the victims were heard during the burial and that the earth continued to move for days afterwards.
The monument’s unveiling was joined by Adamow’s mayor as well as by a local priest, school director, and several students who recited poetry about the Holocaust.
“We will never be able to find all the graves of victims in Poland, but every matzeivah we can put up for a single Jew is a mitzvah,” said Rabbi Schudrich.