The reconstructed roof of a 17th-century synagogue was unveiled at Warsaw’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
After Jerzy heard about frequent vandalism at an old Jewish cemetery in his home city of Gdansk, Poland, he decided to visit the graveyard. It had fallen into such disrepair that "people would go there to drink beer," said Jerzy, who gave only his middle name due to fears of anti-Semitism.
Many Jews still view Poland as the land of pogroms, persecution and prejudice; a terminally anti-Semitic and blood-drenched country where 3 million Jews were mercilessly murdered during World War II; a land dotted with death camps, desecrated cemeteries and deserted synagogues. What most Jews don't know is that Poland has changed radically over the past couple of decades, and these days, it is reaching out to Israel and to Jews --and not just socially, either.
On April 19, 1943, heavily armed Nazi troops penetrated into the Warsaw Ghetto with a grim goal: the liquidation of the ghetto and the deportation of the last remnants of Warsaw's Jews -- some 40,000 men, women and children.
"There was no shouting or wailing," recalls a Nazi army veteran in wonder after watching Polish Jews digging their own graves before being machine-gunned. "There was a deadly silence."