March 13, 2009

Radziejow – Post World War II

In what can only be described as an amazing video made by my cousin, Lenny Marcus, in 1987, returned to Radziejow. One apparent purpose of this pilgrimage was to document what happened to the town, once loved by his parents. He followed his parents hand made map of the streets where the Jews lived. The buildings were basically unchanged from the time of the Holocaust. The people looked poor and seemed to have the same look as one would expect of townspeople during the early part of the twentieth century. Two things were different, a “modern” building was built on the site of the dynamited synagogue and the town square was turned into a garden with a new monument in the middle.
Marcus was accompanied by a former Jew, now turned Catholic, by the name, I believe, Fischel Granowski. Granowski married a woman that saved him during the Holocaust. In 1987 he was a normal resident of the town, with his childrend and grandchildren. One of his grandson’s is named Arik Granowki. Before the Holocaust, Fischel lived on a street with his fellow Jews. In the 1980s he lived in a small house near his son’s store. However, he was still known as the “town Jew.”
Marcus filmed, among other buildings, the Neuman Building. The building looked to be in terrible condition. The facade of the two story building, didn’t even look like a storefront. The building looked more residential in nature. The structure of the building looked dilapidated. The beige paint was old and peeling.
Radziejow looked frozen in time. No progress, only deterioration of the town. This is similar to the fate of Israel after the second exile. From the video it appeared that the little gain achieved by taking over all the Jewish property did not equal the loss of this once vibrant business community of Jews.
Just think what Radziejow would have been like if the Jews remained. I know from the survivors children the success and wealth they were able to achieve. Doctors, lawyers, successful businessmen, professors, to name just a few.
Radziejow’s website of today tells a new story. The town looks like the town has recovered. The Neuman Building appears to have been painted with a bright facade with a large green awning. The townspeople look happy and prosperous.
It is time to close the chapter of the Holocaust and Radziejow. Return the Neuman’s property, build a memorial to the Jews of Radziejow that died during the war, and finally restore the cemetery. This is something that Radziejow needs to do in order to proudly face the coming generations.

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