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Museum staff take part in the solemn ceremonies in Jedwabne. The New Memorial in Jedwabne


Museum director Jerzy Wróblewski and his deputy, Krystyna Oleksy, took part in the solemn ceremonies commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the murder of the Jews in Jedwabne. During the ceremony, Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski apologized to the Jews for the murder committed there sixty years earlier. - "I apologize in my own name and in the name of all Poles whose conscience is disturbed by that crime," said Kwasniewski. "We know with complete certainty that there were Poles among the persecutors and perpetrators. We cannot have any doubts: here, in Jedwabne, citizens of the Polish Republic died at the hands of other citizens of the Republic. This is what people did to people, and what neighbors did to neighbors."

President Kwasniewski also noted that there is no question of any sort of collective responsibility involving guilt on the part of the residents of particular localities or whole nations. "Each person is responsible only for his own deeds," said Kwasniewski. "Sons do not inherit the guilt of the fathers," he added. "Our consciences will be clear if, in memory of those days, we always carry the spirit of understanding and moral outrage in our hearts. We are here to perform a collective examination of conscience. We are paying tribute to the victims and saying: Never again."

During the Second World War, the part of Poland that included Jedwabne was under Soviet occupation from 1939 to 1941. The pogrom against the Jewish residents of the village occurred in 1941, shortly after the entry of the German army into that territory. Accounts by Polish eyewitnesses confirm the participation of a group of local Poles in a crime inspired or directed by the Germans.