September 1, 2011
Memorial to Jedwabne pogrom vandalized in Poland
Vandals have defaced the monument in the eastern Polish town of Jedwabne that commemorates the hundreds of Jews burned alive in a barn there by their Polish neighbors in July 1941.
A decade ago, the publication of Jan T. Gross’s book about the massacre, “Neighbors,” prompted a national debate on Poland’s role in the Holocaust. Photographs in the Polish media Thursday showed anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas scrawled in big green letters on the monument and on the wall surrounding it. One slogan read, “No need to apologize for Jedwabne.”
Media reports said a policeman on patrol discovered the attack Wednesday night.
The monument, which stands on the site of the barn where the Jews were killed, is not lit and stands on its own, away from town buildings.
According to media reports, regional police in Bialystok, who are investigating the incident, are linking this attack to other apparent neo-fascist vandal attacks aimed at minority groups in the past few weeks in eastern and northeast Poland.
These include scrawled anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi symbols found on the former synagogue in the town of Orla on Aug. 10. Vandals also broke into the Islamic Center in Bialystok, trashed the ground floor and attempted to set the building on fire. The next day, bilingual signs in Polish and Lithuanian were found damaged in Punsk, a town near the border with Lithuania.