After WWII, residents of small Polish village of Pilica apparently wanted to defile the memory of the buried Jews by using their gravestones with Hebrew writing, to build outhouse.
By Yori Yalon
The tiny Polish town of Pilica hides an infuriating secret: Homeowners who lived in the town after World War II used Jewish gravestones to build an outhouse and parts of their home, apparently in an effort to defile the memory of the Jews.
The sight of dozens of gravestones bearing Hebrew writing as part of a structure that serves as an outhouse is unsettling. The home, which has been abandoned in recent years after its owners passed away, is littered with broken gravestones, an open wound in the heart of the polish village.
Jonny Daniels, the head of the From the Depths organization that honors the memory of Holocaust victims, was summoned to the house by one of the group’s volunteers in the area. He was appalled by what he found.
“I felt rage and sadness at the same time when I saw the egregious disrespect that our brothers’ and sisters’ gravestones had been shown,” Daniels recalled. “The only thing we leave behind in this world is our good name and our burial place. The moment that is taken from us, and used to build a house or worse, an outhouse, it is deeply insulting. It wasn’t enough that the Nazis tried to kill the Jews who were alive, the Poles later tried to destroy all traces that the Jews had lived.”
Daniels approached the leaders of the Polish community with a request to remove the gravestones from the house in question. The Pilica municipality replied that the matter was not under municipal jurisdiction since the home was privately owned. The next step was to contact the heirs of the late homeowners, but they have yet to respond. A legal proceeding is expected to be launched in the absence of a response in the future.
A local attorney and volunteer with Daniels’ From the Depths organization said that “we know exactly who these people are, and we even told them we would help return the gravestones to the cemetery. There is an important principle here. The moment we restore a few gravestones to a cemetery that is completely vacant right now, we will bring a Jewish character back to the area.”
Daniels mentioned that this discovery came shortly after the desecration of Jewish gravestones in the city of Olkusz in southern Poland. Following an Israel Hayom report that exposed the vandalism, the city decided to set up security at the cemetery and build a high wall around the site.
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=25213