NEW YORK (VINnews) — A mass grave with the remains of at least 60 Jews murdered during the Holocaust has been discovered in the Polish village of Wojsławice which once housed a vibrant Jewish community, according to a Ynet report. The grave was discovered after officials from the Shem Olam institute of Holocaust education spoke to two elderly people and one younger person from the village who described where Jews had been murdered in the village 79 years before. Using advanced technology, the team found the location of the grave in the backyard of a private residence in the village. The bodies included at least 20 children.
Rabbi Avraham Krieger, chairman of Shem Olam, said that it was decided not to dig up the grave, and instead erect a monument in full cooperation with the village’s mayor.
“In the initial stage, we will place a metal sign with the names of the Jews who are known for sure to have been buried there, and then the place will be fenced off,” Krieger said.
“We were able to cross-reference information with the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, and find the names of some of the bodies of the Jews in the grave,” he added.
“Among other things, we found the names of three families, which include about twenty people along with grandparents, parents and children. These are the bodies of members of the Shimon Lang family and his children, the Gershon Fish family and his children and the Pavel Mendel family and his children.”
Prior to the Holocaust the village boasted a Jewish population of some 1500-2000 Jews who were murdered by Nazi forces with the aid of their Polish collaborators. The community had existed in the town since the 14th century and operated various religious, educational and Zionist projects.
With the invasion of the Nazis in 1939, an “open ghetto” was established in the village, which was opened and closed at certain hours for specific needs. The village’s Jews were subjected to hard and humiliating forced labor, their property was confiscated and about a hundred residents perished in the first week of the occupation alone.
In 1941, the Jews were concentrated in a “closed ghetto,” and in 1942 they were deported to labor and extermination camps across Poland. At that time, two pits were dug in the village, which served as mass graves every time the Nazis executed a local Jewish family or individual Jews.
At the end of the war, the remaining Jews in the town were marched to the Vlodave and Belzec extermination camps, where they were murdered on the banks of the river Bug, on the border between Ukraine and Poland.