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SMUGA FOREST near Jabłoń – November 20, 2013

An unveiling ceremony took place in a forest near Jabłoń, on the 70th anniversary of the murder of 29 Jews by the Germans, near the victims’ grave. In that place, a memorial stone with the names of 21 victims, the residents of Jabłoń, was erected by the Lasting Memory Foundation. Flag bearers representing three local schools gathered around the memorial along with students and other guests to pay honors to the dead.

The ceremony was attended by a representative of the Chancellery of the Polish President, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, a Catholic parish priest, a Pentecostal pastor, local authorities, teachers and students from local schools and residents of Jabłoń and the vicinity. After a welcoming introduction of the mayor, the Foundation’s president Zbigniew Niziński led the ceremony. He recalled the testimonies of the witnesses to the murder. In fall 1943, the Germans of the German Reserve Police Battalion 101 arrived to Jabłoń in trucks. The Jews working on a farm administered by a German were loaded into trucks and transported to Smuga Forest. They were forced to lay on the ground face down and then shot in the necks. Under the command of Germans, 11 locals dug out a pit and buried the murdered Jews, recognizing their friends among the dead…
The clergy of three religious traditions lifted their prayers to heaven. The students made a touching music and poetry performance. The forest manager declared that the memory of and the care over the grave site would be permanent. Among the speakers was a daughter of one of the 11 men who had buried the dead. She recalled her father’s wish for the grave to be commemorated. Flowers and candles were placed at the memorial.
The grave was commemorated thanks to kindness of the Radzyń Podlaski Forestry Management Office and the community of Jabłoń. The Foundation’s activities were supported by Jack Pariser and his friends from the USA. Jack Pariser and his family had been rescued from the Holocaust in Jodłowa by the family of Świerczek – the Righteous among the Nations of the World.

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