18 AUGUST 2008

View Video of Ceremony at Ghetto Memorial here [Speech by Ambassador David Peleg in English]

View Video of interview with Ghetto Survivor Ewa Krakowska here [in Polish]

See photos of Ceremony on Bialystok City Website here

Report from Lucja Lisowska

Representative of the Jewish Community of Warsaw

Resident of Bialystok

Friend of BIALYGen


Speeches were made at the Zabia Street Ghetto Memorial (former site of the Ghetto Cemetery)

  • Mayor of Bialystok - Tadeusz Truskolaski

  • Israeli Ambassador to Poland - David Peleg

  • President of The Society of Former Resident of Bialystok and Surroundings in Israel - Jakob Kagan

  • Jewish Community of Warsaw Representative in Bialystok - Lucy Lisowska

Dedication of the park, the former Ghetto Cemetery, to Mordrchaj Tenenbaum, leader of the Bialystok Ghetto Resistance


Placing of flowers and candles on the Monument to the Bialystok Ghetto by Israeli Bialystokers, Ambasador David Peleg, and Lucy Lisowska - A large Israeli and Jewish group of visitors sang Israeli songs by the monument


At the Ceremony were also Zeev Balgaly, Ewa Kracowski and many many Bialystokers from Israel and USA as well as Vice President of the Jewish Community from Warsaw, Grazyna Majer.




An Account of the Commemoration

by Jolanta Kowalewska

a woman from Sokoly interested in Jewish history of Poland and Jewish-Polish relations

provided to BIALYGen by Robert Becker


Monday, 18th August. We have another sunny and very hot day in Bialystok. It is almost noon, when I and Pawel (Jolanta's son) reach Zabia street. We are going pass a police car and finally come up the people, gathered nearby the monument of the Bialystok Ghetto Heroes, and waiting for the ceremony. We can see the group of Jews from Israel, all of them are wearing the white jackets with the big blue David's stars on the back of them. It is not very crowded here, as usual, but I think there are a little bit more people today than two and three years ago, both - Jews and Poles.

Exact at 12 o'clock the lingering sound of the sirens rings out and interrupts the silence. Although this sound is not very loud, probably it is made in Warszawska street, where the fire department is located, but anyway, it creates very special and very solemn atmosphere........ Listening to the sirens I try to imagine THAT day in 1943 here and the sounds of the fight then and the screaming of the people being killed by the Germans and having no chance to survive....

It is difficult to imagine those dramatic events and for a second I feel the same like, when I visited Treblinka with you (Robert Becker), five years ago. Standing there in that beautiful clearing surrounded by the forests, in
such a sunny day we had in October, it was also very difficult to believe that so MANY people were murdered just there...

The sounds of the sirens has stopped and the main part of the ceremony starts from giving the name of Mordechaj Tenenbaum, the leader of the uprising in our ghetto, to the square in Zabia street, just here, where we are gathered at the moment.

The next it is the time for the speeches of the president (Mayor) of Bialystok and the ambassador of Israel in Poland. Both of them say about the needs of commemorating our common, Polish and Jewish, history and culture, about the tolerance and the cooperation between our two nations. We are told Bialystok is an example of one of the really friendly Polish towns, where some efforts are made to memorize the Polish/ Jewish character of our town.

The next person, who we are listening to, is the representative of the Bialystoker Jewish community in Israel (sorry, but I don't remember his name and the town he is from). He was born here in Bialystok and he lost his all family here. Although his speech is made in Hebrew (or perhaps Yiddish), but it is touching anyway. His voice is breaking down a few times and I think it must be very difficult to go through all of this without the tears. This speech is translated into Polish and the last person, who says something to the gathering is the representative of the Jewish community in Warsaw, Lucy Lisowska.

And now it is the time for the religious accent of the ceremony. We are listening to the prayer of the young rabbi. His strong voice and the words said in Hebrew create a very special and unique atmosphere....

The last part of the ceremony in Zabia street is placing the flowers by the monument. All the representatives of the local authorities and institutions, as well as the representatives of the Jewish authorities and organizations, put the flowers. At the end the local town guards lit the candles. The last pictures are being taken...

The ceremony is being finished. However, we see the group of the Jews, who came to Bialystok, gathered together in front of the monument. In the middle the ambassador of Israel is standing. They hold each other and start.... singing. Among the few songs we can recognize the beautiful song ' Jerusalem of Gold' ( Pawel has it on his numerous records, of course) and the national anthem of Israel.






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Last Updated on 31 August 2008.