Od trzech lat For the last three years the Shtetl of Tsanz strives to commemorate the victims of the monstrous crime that Operation Reinhardt was. This year we met at 8 locations in the south of Poland. Together with local authorities, activists and citizens we were lighting the light of memory.
Operation Reinhardt, named in tribute to the SS-obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) murdered in June 1942, is one of the most heinous murders in the history of mankind. In less than two years the Germans murdered about 1,5 million Jewish people, mainly in the gas chambers of immediate death camps such as Bełżec, Treblinka, Sobibór and in the Majdanek concentration camp. The operation started in March 1942 and ended in November 1943. The majority of victims came from the General Government. 135 thousand Jews were brought from abroad. Within the Operation Reinhardt on 23th, 25th and 28th of August the Jewish people of Sądecczyzna were deported to the death camp in Bełżec and killed.
For the last three years the Shtetl of Tsanz, a Nomina Rosae Foundation programme created on the initiative of historian Łukasz Połomski, strives to commemorate the victims of this monstrous crime that took place in our country. This year’s ceremonies took place in 8 locations in collaboration with local authorities, gminas and representatives of museum institutions as well as community workers and clergymen. The fact that so many people, including local authorities, took part in those important ceremonies, during which also representatives of Jewish communities from Poland and from abroad were present, was remarkably precious to us.
On August 9th in Mszana Dolna a touching ceremony of the 75th anniversary of ghetto liquidation took place. Two witnesses of the crime were present: Anna Nachman and Henryk Zdanowski. We have also recalled the late survivors of this execution: Moses Aftergut and Leo Gatterer. We thank the “Młody Asyż w Leśnej” organization as well as Mrs. Urszula Antosz-Rekucka for a beautiful ceremony. We thank the city authorities, Mr. Mayor for organizing a meeting in the City Hall.
On August 10th historical commemoration of the Limanowa ghetto liquidation took place. For the first time in 75 years we prayed in Stara Wieś, where around 200 citizens of Limanowa were killed. Fr. Bartosz Miziński and rabbi Uszi Pilchick prayed at the Jewish cemetery during the Memorial Address. After that an academic conference took place in which the Mayor of Limanowa Mr. Władysław Bieda took part, together with other local authority representatives.
On August 17th, 2017, 75 years passed since the liquidation of Stary Sącz ghetto and since the execution in Piaski. Together with Friends of Stary Sącz Society and Mr. Mayor Jacek Lelek and local authorities we visited the place of execution. In the Stary Sącz Museum an academic conference took place as well. At Batorego str. the commemorative plaque was unveiled by Stary Sącz Mayor Jacek Lelek and the director of the Shtetl of Tsanz Łukasz Połomski.
On August 18th we took part in the anniversary events in Biecz, organized this year by the Town Hall and joined by Mr. Mayor Mirosław Wędrychowicz. On this day Łukasz Połomski awarded Prof. Ira Goetz with the Honorary Ambassador of the Shtetl of Tsanz statuette. During a touching meeting in the Biecz library, that was joined also by representatives of families of Righteous among the Nations, Mrs. Kurtz, descendand of a Jewish family from Biecz, handed the original family memorabilia from Biecz over to the city (talit and prayer book). The gift proved to be perfect – Biecz is planning to open a museum dedicated to the history of Jewish citizens of the city next year. We are particularly thankful to the amazing guardian of memory of Jewish Biecz – Mr. Krzysztof Przybyłowicz.
On August 19th, 1942 the Germans liquidated the ghetto of Gorlice. Our ceremonies were joined by Mayor Rafał Kukla, starosta Karol Górski, local authority representatives and citizens of Gorlice. Our special guests at the ceremonies were Ira Goetz, Holocaust survivor, whose mother came from Gorlice and descendants of the Singer family.
On August 20th, 1942, in Biała Niżna the most vulnerable citizens of the ghetto were shot. Together with mr. wójt Piotr Krok and mayor Paweł Fyda we met over the mass grave of the Victims. We thank Kamil Kmak for collaboration – he again took care of the ceremony and passed us the moving letter of Mr. Howard Unger.
On August 21st in the House of History we meet with prof. Ira Goetz, our Honorary Ambassador. We listened to His life story – it’s especially important that our young volunteers heard it.
On August 23rd ceremonial commemoration of the Nowy Sącz ghetto liquidation took place. Historical walk through the streets of former ghetto was led by Łukasz Połomski and Artur Franczak. At 8 PM the Memory Appeal took place. The city of Nowy Sącz was represented by the Chairman of the City Council Bożena Jawor and the representative of the City of Nowy Sącz President mr. Tomasz Michałowski. During the ceremony the “I don’t know my death” happening took place, performed by Justyna Stasik, actress of the Nomina Rosae Theatre together with the volunteers of the Shtetl of Tsanz. The Address was joined by clergymen: father Dariusz Chwastek, pastor Jacek Orłowski, pastor Tomasz Skórnóg and father Jarosław Studziński OJ and descendants of Jewish families from Nowy Sącz, including Mr. Leon Engelhard. We thank the citizens of Nowy Sącz for participation in such a great number!