Stolen Polish gravestones laid to rest

By Nissan Tzur, August 29, 2014

More than 1,000 headstones, taken from the old "Brodno" Jewish cemetery in Warsaw and used to build a pergola and stairs in a local park, are being returned and preserved.

Jonny Daniels, executive director of From the Depths, a local Holocaust memorial organisation, said: "After we brought the largest-ever delegation of Israeli lawmakers to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau this January, a Polish journalist contacted me and told me that there is a park in Warsaw which is built using Jewish headstones. I found it hard to believe, but we went there and it was true.

"In a very short time I was at the Warsaw mayor's office. I told them that these are headstones of our people, our families. They asked for time to think.

"Two weeks later, I was there again and told them that there were two options: we will organise a mass protest every day, or they return the headstones to the cemetery."

Two days later, the municipality decided to allocate $160,000 to a plan to return the headstones to Brodno, the largest Jewish cemetery in Warsaw and one of the largest in Europe. It is believed that 300,000 people have been buried there. Currently, however, only 3,000 grave sites exist.

Last updated: 10:45am, August 29 2014