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linia 2017-12-08 SIEMIATYCZE

The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) condemns in the strongest possible terms the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Siemiatycze.

“This devastation to the cemetery is a profound violation of the final resting place of Jewish people and of the memory of Jewish life in Siemiatycze,” said Gideon Taylor, Co-Chair of FODZ. “We urge the authorities to take all the steps necessary to protect this holy ground."

Siemiatycze was home to close to 4000 Jews before the Holocaust.  Part of the cemetery was restituted to FODZ.  However, part of the cemetery is owned by the Polish Motor Union, which operates a car park that was built on the property during the Communist period.  The Motor Union was issued building permits to further develop the property, despite the objection of FODZ, but said that it would inform FODZ before construction in order to make sure that remains were not disturbed. On December 5, it was discovered that excavations had taken place to build an electrical transformer station on the grounds of the cemetery.  Human remains in mounds of earthworks from the construction were found inside the cemetery and outside the cemetery. The Rabbinical Commission for Jewish Cemeteries in the Office of the Chief Rabbi of Poland immediately informed the Police and Prosecutor’s Office, which secured the location and stopped construction.

Update: Polish authorities have confirmed that construction will not continue on the site and an investigation is under way.


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