The Polish city of Przemysl commemorated Jews murdered in the Holocaust on Tuesday in a ceremony held at what was once the town's synagogue. The building, established in 1910, was confiscated by the Polish government after the war and used as a library.
Among those present was Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund, who was behind the effort to commemorate the synagogue. Freund described himself as “deeply moved” at the event, and called on the descendents of European Jews to ensure that European Jewish heritage is preserved.
Freund also called on local officials to return historic Jewish property to the Jewish community. Other Jewish sites he named include the town's Jewish cemetery and the grounds of a synagogue.
"We cannot change the past, but we can – and must – do it justice,” Freund said. “The time has come for the city of Przemysl to return the Jewish communal property in its hands to the Jewish people.”
An estimated 20,000 Jews lived in Przemysl prior to the Holocaust. Most were killed in the Holocaust, and few Jews remain in the area.
Tuesday's ceremony was also attended by Israeli ambassador to Poland Tzvi Rav-Ner, local officials, a representative from the United States consulate, and European Jewish activists.