This storyof re-creation of the monument at the mass grave of Brzesko Holocaust victims started in February 2017, when Mrs Janina Kaczmarowska told me about a group of Jews who had been executed in Brzesko the next day after liquidation of ghetto in 1942.
„It was already 1942, I saw it with my own eyes. I was looking through the window when SS led 17 Jews down the street. Klinger family was among them. Father of that family had been already shot that day. He was murdered after he had been forced to leave his hideout. But mother and daughter walked together in that group, they were holding hands. The entire group was brought to the Jewish cemetery where a deep pit had been already dug. They were ordered to strip naked and put their clothes in one pile. Then they were ordered to stand in front of that pit and Germans shot everyone in the back of the head so that their bodies would fall straight down.
The grave of these 17 people should be not far from the cemetery gate, Perhaps you would be able to find it?
These 17 Jews were shot in September 17, the day after the liquidation of Brzesko ghetto. They were hiding in various hideouts, but were found. First they were gathered i one yard in Brzesko, and then taken to the cemetery.
Mr Bednarski observed their execution – he lived right opposite the cemetery and saw everything from the attic of his house. This house is no longer there. It’s him who told me all those details.”
In February 2017, I found a spot at the Jewish cemetery where this grave could be located. To the right from the monument commemorating 200 Jews murdered in June 1942 (this monument was erected in 1947), there was a fenced spot where some kind of monument used to be. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any information about this monument, when it was erected or in what circumstances it was demolished.
In April 2017, Mr. Aleksander Schwarz from the Central Rabbinical Commission for Jewish Cemeteries came to Brzesko to conduct a non-invasive study using a GPR. These studies confirmed the location of the mass grave. More detailes on that GPR analysis can be found at the website of Foundation „Zaponmiane” („Forgotten”) led by Mr Schwarz: https://zapomniane.org/miejsce/brzesko-grob-1/
Looking for documents related to mass murders of Bresko Jews, I turned to the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. In response, I received documents that indicated presence of several mass graves at the Brzesko Jewish cemetery. We understood that it won’t be possible to confirm that this mass grave is the place where those 17 Jews that Mrs Kaczmarowska told us about, were buried. Therefore, we decided to put a monument honoring all Holocaust victims buried at the cemetery.