Unidentified victim discovered in former World War II ghetto is buried by Jewish leaders.
Human bones unearthed in what was once Poland’s Warsaw Ghetto, thought to belong to a hiding Jewish man, were laid to rest by members of the capital city’s Jewish community on Tuesday.
The unidentified victim’s remains were discovered last summer in a building in Muranow, a Warsaw neighborhood that had a mostly Jewish population prior to WWII. During the Nazi occupation of Poland, it was the site of the ghetto, and it’s possible that the man was hiding there when Nazis razed the area to the ground to put down a 1943 uprising.
At the burial of the bones, which were wrapped in a white cloth, Poland’s head rabbi, Michael Schudrich, remarked, “We are here as the family for a person we don’t know.”
The building is presently used by a community nonprofit, and the bones were discovered by Marek Slusarz, the organization’s director. When he and a plumber working in the building discovered the remains, he contacted the police and the Jewish community.
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The bones were buried with soil from Israel, and Jewish officials recited Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, as four men pulled the wagon to the cemetery.
The event was held in Warsaw’s Jewish Cemetery, one of Europe’s largest Jewish cemeteries in a city that was once a major center of Jewish life before the Holocaust.
The funeral, according to Leslaw Piszewski, chairman of the Warsaw Jewish Community, was a highly emotional event for him, especially because it occurred on the night of Yom Kippur, one of the most hallowed days in the Jewish calendar.
“This anonymous person regained his dignity after nearly 80 years,” Piszewski remarked. “This is vital information. This is the only option we have for the unidentified victim.”
After the war, the region was rebuilt on top of the wartime ruins.
Despite the tragedy, Slusarz said it was a source of joy for him to play a part in the victim’s honorable burial. Although he is not Jewish, he expressed the hope that such events would motivate future generations in Poland to preserve the remembrance of centuries of Jewish history. This is a condensed version of the information.