– Thanks for giving the floor to those who can’t say anything anymore – said the descendants of Nowy Sącz Jews during the opening ceremony of the Memorial Day for Nowy Sącz Jewish residents who were murdered during World War II.
The memorial square opened today and is located at the intersection of the Mujahideen. Casimir the Great and Timovsky. It is the former district area. This place of remembrance has become part of the Nowy Sącz map thanks to the participation of the Popiel Family Foundation, the People Not Numbers project, Sądecki Shtetl and other organizations.
Holocaust survivors and descendants of Nowy Sącz Jews have waited decades for the opening of the Memory Square in Nowy Sącz – in this place. A large group of them came from different countries of the world to Nowy Sącz. It was among them, among others Sarah Winfield Melzerthat was one of the few who survived the extermination of the Jews of Nowy Sącz.
For them, as well as for the people of the city, it was a special and sacred moment. This solemn celebration was attended by many distinguished guests. There were diplomats and representatives of governments, including Israel, as well as Jewish communities and organizations from many parts of the world. Also local government in Nowy Sącz. Bishop Władysław Salaterski came to the capital of the Sądecczyzna region. Other clergymen also prayed with him at the memorial site. The rabbi came too Avi BaumolRepresentative of the Chief Rabbi of Poland
The memorial located in Memorial Square commemorates the Holocaust victims from the city and region. On the walls of this memorial, a neighborhood partially hidden in the grounds that was turned into a ghetto during World War II, more than 12,000 names are carved in stone.
Today’s date is no accident. On that day, eighty years ago, the last transfer of Jews from Nowy Sącz to the Bełżec death camp, in 1942, left Nowy Sącz.
– Eighty years ago, the German occupiers gathered the Jewish community in my city, and deceived them that they were going east to work – he said during the party Dariush Popila From the Popiel Family Foundation, Coordinator of the People Not Numbers project. With bags and house keys in hand, thirsty people stood in the meadow. Water was at hand, but the executioners forbade drinking. During three years of terror, they were physically and mentally destroyed in the ghetto. Here, where we are, ten meters or so in the ul. Franceskasca. Here, on these streets, the Nazis gave the Jewish population a hell on earth. From the meadow on the Donajic River, the blood marked the path of the march to the station. Cattle carts are beating and killing. In Bełżec, deception was in full swing. There were flowers, and a fence, and a pigeon with the beautiful Star of David, but no pigeon. There was torment and death.
Dariush Popila said that the land, as well as the post-war generations, hid the cries and memories of genocide victims into oblivion. He also said that ten years ago he had naively and unsuccessfully searched for a memorial site in Nowy Sącz dedicated to a third of the city’s population. He couldn’t find one because it wasn’t there. Even today.
– I wish we were all full of hope and conviction that evil did not fully triumph, and we contemporaries have added another chapter to this story in keeping with Turski’s eleventh commandment – do not be indifferent.
Thanks to the work of the great volunteers from Sądecki Shtetl: Łukasz Połomski, Artur Franczak and other volunteers, it was possible to identify the 12,000 names and surnames of Jews from Nowy Sącz. It was engraved on 30 plates. Ten of them are baby names.
During the ceremony, twelve thousand Jewish names and titles of Nowy Sącz were read. Reading this, as Dariush Popila pointed out, would be a symbolic burial for those people most of whom have never seen. Tears were shed on the faces of those gathered at the ceremony. Avi Pomol, representative of the Chief Rabbi of Poland, prayed for the dead.
Łukasz Połomski Shtetl of Sadecki, speaking publicly, said that today Nowy Sącz fulfilled the will of Jakub Miller, a Jew from Nowy Sącz who died in 2010, who made sure that the memory of these people would not disappear.
– I have the words of 97-year-old Markus Lustig, who, when he heard about the square being built, said it was another victory over Hitler – said Łukasz Połomski. A victory over oblivion, over the silence that has been here for 80 years. For me, today’s celebration is like saying goodbye to 11,966 people. By name and surname. It’s a farewell to those who erased history and whom I’ve known for 15 years. We want to remember them all listed on the boards. You cannot win with the blood of war. These words still ring in our ears, as do the pleas of everyone who stood in memory of the festivities of the former ghetto.
President Nowy Sącz . also spoke Ludomir Handzel and Sarah Winfield Melzer, who was one of the few who survived the extermination of the Jews of Nowy Sącz. I spoke with great emotion.
Thanks to today’s event, the city of Nowy Sącz has written a beautiful chapter in the Jewish history of Central and Eastern Europe and is an example for others – said Sarah Winfield Melzer. Blessed be the memory of my brothers and sisters whose names are engraved on the tablets before us, and they will remain forever.
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