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Kazimierz Dolny. Children’s Day celebrations in the former cemetery. The Chief Rabbi of Poland intervenes

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The authorities of Kazimierz Dolny (Lubelskie Voivodeship) organized a grand celebration of Children’s Day on the playground of the primary school. There was music, cotton candy and soap bubbles. However, the event was sharply criticized by the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, because the pitch is located on the site of a former Jewish cemetery. City officials apologize.

On Tuesday, the rabbi sent a letter to the mayor of Kazimierz Dolny, Artur Pomianowski. “The event organized in the backyard, which is fun on the graves, proves that respect for human burial is not an important value for the city authorities,” reads the letter quoted by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

According to the authorities of Kazimierz Dolny, the playground in the former cemetery has been operating since the 1950s.

Children’s Day in Kazimierz Dolny. The city apologizes

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The city authorities confirmed that the party had taken place and that the office had received a letter from the rabbi. “We have forwarded our response to Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich. We absolutely did not have any bad intentions or bad intentions, we count on further cooperation and dialogue with the Jewish community – assures Bartłomiej Godlewski, deputy mayor of Kazimierz Dolny. He also stressed that the place of the party was inappropriate and in the future the office will take this into account and the events will be organized elsewhere.

Godlewski said that he could not reveal the content of the letter sent to the city authorities by Rabbi Michael Schudrich. Instead, he presented the content of the response prepared by the office. “Dear rabbi, I regret the wrong decision on the location of the Children’s Day. We have a common history and a common home, it was not our intention to hurt feelings. It was a human error. I hope that this event will not prevent our dialogue and cooperation in the future. I am giving you our apologies to the entire Jewish community,” was the reply.

Children’s Day in Kazimierz DolnyArtur Pomianowski – Mayor of Kazimierz Dolny / Facebook

Memorial park at the site of the football field

As the deputy mayor added, the authorities of Kazimierz Dolny regularly meet with representatives of the Jewish community to discuss current matters. – I think that this unfortunate place of events will not hurt our cooperation – said Godlewski. As he added, talks are underway with the Union of Jewish Religious Communities about moving the pitch to another location.

– Talks are being held on the creation of a memorial site or a memorial park there, which will remain the property of the Kazimierz Dolny commune, while the management and care of this place will be carried out by the Association of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland – indicates the deputy mayor.

In turn, Michael Schudrich, quoted by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, claims that representatives of the Jewish community have been trying to cooperate with the authorities of Kazimierz Dolny for five years in order to move the cemetery to another location. He also claims that several hundred Jews are buried there.

“We came up with a really cool solution that would involve helping to finance the new pitch and moving the cemetery to an empty field nearby,” says the rabbi.

City: There is no debris under the pitch

Godlewski also strongly denied that, contrary to what the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports, there are still human remains under the pitch. – The cemetery was destroyed first by the Germansthen by the Russians, and indeed then it happened that remains were found, but according to the latest archaeological research, which was carried out on the occasion of the construction of the school, in the area where the playground is located, these remains are no longer there – assured the deputy mayor.

It is possible that human remains may be found on the slope of the nearby Góra Trzech Krzyży, where the cemetery used to be, but it is an unfrequented area and lies outside the school boundaries.

The current mayor of the city, Artur Pomianowski, has held this position since 2018.

TVN24 Krakow / Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Main photo source: Artur Pomianowski – Mayor of Kazimierz Dolny / Facebook

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