Anniversary of Jedwabne pogrom commemorated

Schudrich said he was moved by the sheer number of people who wanted to come to Jedwabne despite the pandemic. Artur Reszko/PAP

Jedwabne, in Poland's northeastern Podlaskie province, commemorated on Friday the 79th anniversary of a 1941 German-inspired pogrom of the town's Jewish population by their Polish neighbours.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ceremonies were not held in their usual official form, as announced earlier by the Jewish Community of Warsaw.

Prayers by Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and the Community representatives were planned as the sole commemoration this year, but a great number of individuals, groups and delegations appeared at the ceremonies spontaneously.

Officials from the Israeli Embassy to Poland, the Polish President's Office and the National Remembrance Institute (IPN) were also present.

Before the prayers, Schudrich said that all the people came to Jedwabne as "mourners." "We are here to jointly express our sorrow (...) for innocent people," he said.

Schudrich said he was moved by the sheer number of people who wanted to come to Jedwabne despite the pandemic.

The pogrom took place on July 10, 1941 in the town of Jedwabne in German-occupied Poland. At least 340 local Jews of all ages were locked in a barn which was then set on fire. A group of Poles, summoned to Jedwabne by a German paramilitary group known as the Ordnungspolizei, were involved in the atrocity.