Poland calls off exhumation of bodies from 1941 Jedwabne pogrom
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Poland calls off exhumation of bodies from 1941 Jedwabne pogrom

Prosecutor says investigation into attack on town’s Jews by their neighbors will not be reopened, as digging up bodies would likely not provide new evidence

An inscription reading 'They were Flammable' and a Nazi swastika are seen in Jedwabne, Poland, September 1, 2011, on the monument dedicated to Jews from the town of Jedwabne burned to death by their Polish neighbors in 1941. (AP/Michal Kosc/File)
An inscription reading 'They were Flammable' and a Nazi swastika are seen in Jedwabne, Poland, September 1, 2011, on the monument dedicated to Jews from the town of Jedwabne burned to death by their Polish neighbors in 1941. (AP/Michal Kosc/File)

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – The Polish National Prosecutor’s Office has decided that there are no grounds for exhuming the victims of the 1941 pogrom in Jedwabne and resuming the proceedings in the case.

The decision was first reported on Monday. The director of the Institute of National Remembrance earlier had declared that it was ready to start exhumation work.

The prosecutor’s office said that exhuming the bodies of the Jewish victims would not provide any new evidence that could lead to the reopening of the case.

In February, the director of the Institute of National Remembrance, Jaroslaw Szarek, announced that his institution was ready to conduct an exhumation in Jedwabne, a town in northeast Poland. A previous investigation into the 1941 crime was discontinued in June 2003 after it was determined that all the guilty parties had been identified.

Michael Schudrich, Poland’s chief rabbi, reciting a prayer for the victims of the Jedwabne massacre at the town’s Jewish cemetery, July 10, 2016. Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, is front row, second from left. (JTA/Cnaan Liphshiz)

According to previous findings by the Institute of National Remembrance on Jedwabne, some 340 Jews were killed there, of which about 300 were burned alive in a barn. The murder was carried out by a group of 40 residents of Jedwabne and the surrounding area.

According to the institute, the crime was inspired by the Germans. Exhumation helped to determine the approximate number of victims. It previously was believed that around 1,600 Jews were murdered in Jedwabne.

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