Bielcza IV – history or memory

On July 16th 1942 in this place, German soldiers shot and killed 28 Roma, all members of the Kwiek family. They were buried in a shallow unmarked grave in this forest clearing on the edge of the village of Bielcza. Three years later, the villagers exhumed the bodies and buried them in a mass grave in the local cemetery.

I am thinking of Nora’s Lieux d’Mémoire, about what makes a place a site of memory rather than a site of history…this place is unmemorialised, but there seems to be a will to remember…firstly from the villagers, then more recently from Bartosz’s initiative the Roma Memory Caravan, and finally from Roma themselves.

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One Response to Bielcza IV – history or memory

  1. Ellen Sattler-Harpin says:

    My grandmother, Anna Sattler, a Jew, was born in Bielcza. I have searched for information on her hometown for years, and this morning, on a whim, I searched again. Thank you so much for this. My grandmother came to the USA as a teen, by herself, in 1913. Her family remained behind, and aside from two nieces and a brother, all perished in the Shoah. The nieces were used for experiments by Mengele, and they were never able to have children. Seeing photos and reading about the town where she lived is incredible. I’ve tried to find people with whom to correspond in Bielcza, but when I mention my family was Jewish, I never get a response. Some things never change.

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