Vandals destroy a Jewish memorial in Poland, memorializing the pogrom in Jedwabne. Vandals painted on the memorial,, "I'm not sorry"and "they were highly flammable".
The memorial was put up to remember the 1941 pogrom, where Polish residents in Jedwabne killed their Jewish neighbors.
The vandalism was discovered on Wednesday, when police from Biaslystok discovered the memorial. Police spokesman, Andrzej Baranowski said, "On Wednesday a police patrol ran into the devastated site. We immediately started an investigation,"
The incident follows a series of other vandalist acts of antisemitsm and racism in Eastern Poland. Poland's interior minister speculated that most of the vandalism was most likely perpetrated by the same people.
Just two months ago, on July 10, Poland held a ceremony at the site of the memorial for the 70th anniversary of the massacre. The event was well attended by dignitaries, ambassadors, representatives of the Catholic church and Poland's Jewish leadership. Also present was Poland's former Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and former President, Aleksander Kwasniewski. At the ceremony, the current Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski, apologized for the Jedwabne pogrom. The apology was read by former Prime Minister, Tadeusz Mazowiecki.
In 2001, Polish-American historian Jan Gross published his widely controversial book, Neighbors, which exposed and documented the massacre, where in 1941, after the German occupation of the town Jedwabne, under German encouragement, the Polish residents violently massacred 1,600 of their Jewish neighbors. Ending the pogrom, the Jews were forced into a barn and burned alive.
Gross' book spurred a Polish-wide discussion and soul searching, as previous beliefs that Poles were only victims during the Nazi war were dissolved. Jedwabne has since become both a symbol and a sign of the cataclysm of Polish-Jewish relations during the war
While leaders and dignitaries gathered in Jedwabne for the ceremony, the atmosphere inside Jedwabne was tense, as many residents felt blamed for a massacre that their grandparents or parents had been apart of. Few residents attended the ceremony.