Northeastern Polish town’s monument commemorates former Jewish residents

Marcy Oster

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – A monument commemorating the Jews of Suwalki, in northeastern Poland, was unveiled.

The monument dedicated on Friday is located on the site of the town’s synagogue destroyed in 1956.

The inscription on the monument reads, in Polish, Hebrew and English: “In the memory of some 5,500 pre-war Jewish residents of Suwalki murdered during World War II as a result of the policy of extermination of the German occupier.”

Local Christian organizations were involved in the project to build the monument. Talks to recognize the town’s pre-war Jewish population began in 2011.

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The Jewish community of Suwalki was founded in 1821 and its Great Synagogue was built the same year. The synagogue was severely damaged by the Germans during the town’s Nazi occupation, and as a ruin was demolished in 1956 by local authorities.

According to various sources, Jews accounted for about one third of the population of Suwalki before they were deported by the Nazis.

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