24.09.2016 | Redaktor

March of Remembrance 2016

March of Remembrance commemorating the 74th anniversary of liquidation of Brzesko ghetto took place in Brzesko on September 18, 2016. The Mayor Grzegorz Wawryka and Bogdan and Anna Brzyski from Krakow (initiators of cleaning the Jewish cemetery and commemoration of Brzesko Jews) were the main organizers of the event. Among the distinguished guests taking part in the event were: Rabbi Herman Goldberger from the USA, prof. Jonathan Webber, Dov Landau, one of the last Brzesko Jews currently living in Israel, Tadeusz Jakubowicz, chairman of the Jewish Community in Krakow. Other guests from Israel and the United States, descendants of the murdered Brzesko Jews, also joined the March of Remembrance. The meeting was attended by Deputy Józefa Szczurek-Żelazko, many members of the city council, priests, director of the city culture center as well as other Brzesko residents.

Brzesko city mayor Grzegorz Wawryka; Anna Brzyska

City mayor Grzegorz Wawryka greeted everyone and shared few words about the common Polish-Jewish history of the town. He especially emphasized the necessity for the current Brzesko residents to become the guardians of history who would not let the tragedy of the Holocaust happen again.

– We came here today to pay tribute to those who  were murdered by the Nazis. Seven thousand Jews were imprisoned in Brzesko ghetto, they lived in tragic conditions, and in September 1942 they were deported to concentration camps in Bełżec and Auschwitz. We as a generation living in a free and independent Poland must remember about those events – said the deputy Józefa Szczurek-Żelazko. Dov Landau shared: “I am proud that my family comes from here. Poles and Jews have been co-creating this city for over 200 years.”

Israeli ambassador to Poland Anna Azari wasent a letter addressing the participants of the March of Remembrance.  “At such festivities as this, we inevitably think of the past. Even though the Second World War and occupation was a hard and cruel test, we will never forget about thousands of noble and courageous people, Righteous Among the Nations, who in occupied Poland, regardless of the dangers and threats to their loved ones, were helping their Jewish neighbors. I am moved by the fact that memory connects our countries and nations. Contemporary Poland belongs to Israel’s closest friends, and initiatives like today’s March of Remembrance in Brzesko further deepen these relations. I am very pleased with the presence of the descendants of Brzesko Jews, who came especially from Israel and the United States for the March. Taking this opportunity, I would also like to thank all Brzesko residents, who remember their Jewish neighbours and honor their memory,” wrote the Ambassador in her letter.

All participants of the March of Remembrance walked to the building  of  the  synagogue crossing a symbolic gate with barbed wire and burning candles set on Puszkina Street. Holocaust survivor, 88-year-old Dov Landau,  lead the March. Catholic priest, father Franciszek Kostrzewa, offered a prayer by the plaque commemorating Brzesko Holocaust victims.

Herman Goldberger, descendant of Brzesko rabbi Arie Lipschitz
catholic priest Franciszek Kostrzewa

Dov Landau next to the plaque commemorating Brzesko Jews

Participants of the March of Remembrance offered flowers  by the plaque commemorating Brzesko holocaust victims and walked along Długa and Chopin streets to the Market Square. Dov Landau shared about Brzesko of his childhood and his experiences in the town during the war. Then everyone went to the Jewish cemetery where candles were lit by the monument commemorating Brzesko Jewish martyrs.

Participants of the March of Remembrance  walk along Brzesko streets

Krakow rabbi Eliezer Gurary and Dov Landau recite kadish in memory of Brzesko Holocaust victims

Participants of the March of Remembrance at the Jewish cemetery

Monument commemorating 200 Jewish martyrs murdered in Brzesko on June 18, 1942

Some of the descendants of Brzesko Jews who came to the March of Remembrance, Kraków, September 2016

This is translation of an article originally published in BIM (Brzesko news  magazine), # 10, 2016; pictures come from the archive of Anna Brzyska

And here is a link to the video of March of Remembrance 2016