Mateusz Morawiecki at January 2019 event marking liberation of Auschwitz
Mateusz Morawiecki at January 2019 event marking liberation of Auschwitz REUTERS

Will the Polish government remove the remains of Jews who were burned to death in the massacre in the town of Jedwabne?

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Polish television station Polsat that the Polish government is considering removing the bodies of Jews from the graves.

In recent years, there has been controversy over whether the massacre in Jedwabne in 1941, in which hundreds of Jews from the town were burned to death, was carried out by Nazi forces or by local Poles.

The prime minister said that the final decision would be made by the attorney general, since the move contradicts Jewish religious law.

In 2001 there was an attempt to remove the remains of the Jews from their graves in order to examine them and determine how and by whom they were murdered, but the process was stopped then by the then Polish Justice Minister Lech Kaczyński, out of respect for Jewish law.

If the Polish attorney general approves the move and the remains of the bodies were indeed removed from their graves, this could lead to a new and even more serious dispute with Israel.

Hundreds of Jews were interned in a barn that was set on fire in the town of Jedwabne. Only seven Jews managed to escape the fire.

In 2001, the Polish historian Jan Tomasz Gross published his book Neighbors, in which he claimed that the Poles were responsible for the massacre of their Jewish neighbors. Following the publication, Gross was charged with defamation of Poland and was summoned for questioning by the Polish Attorney General.