The event began with a prayer at the city’s Jewish cemetery, followed by a memorial march culminating at Radegast Station, where the official ceremonies took place. Among those participating were Rabbi David Szychowski, Shavei Israel’s emissary to Lodz, who serves as the Jewish community’s chief rabbi, Jewish communal leaders, Lodz municipal officials, local residents and Holocaust survivors.
“We are determined to keep alive the memory of those Jews who were brutally murdered by the Germans and their henchmen during the dark days of the Holocaust,” said Shavei Israel founder and Chairman Michael Freund. “Despite the ravages of the past, it is a testament to the inextinguishable Jewish spirit that young Poles with Jewish roots are rediscovering their heritage and returning to our people. Our emissary Rabbi David Szychowski’s work in Lodz underlines both the power of Jewish memory and the pull of Jewish destiny.”
“Along the years, the city of Lodz was built by Jews and Polish citizens — today we are all here together in order to remember those who lost their lives in the war and honor their memories,” said Rabbi David Szychowski. “This event marks our identity. For all of us it’s important to remember the tragic events and at the same time we will look forward to our future. We have history and we build together our future.”
There are approximately 4,000 Jews officially registered as living in Poland, but experts suggest there may be tens of thousands of other Poles with Jewish roots whose families, to this day, are either hiding their identities or are unaware of their Jewish heritage. Shavei Israel has been active in Poland for over a decade, working closely with Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.