Monday, November 3, 2014 I attended a memorial gathering in eastern Poland in a little town, Orla (in Polish “of the eagles”), near Bialystok. The following video captures the mood of the memorial service.
Orla is typical of hundreds of villages throughout Poland. An out of the way village on the Russian-Polish border not far from Bialystok. A decaying orphaned synagogue that was once beautiful lies in ruins. The synagogue accidentally burned down in 1936 and was rebuilt by the Polish government and rededicated in 1939. A cemetery that was largely plowed under on a hill and its tombstones carried away to farms as building material. Curious high school students learning about the strange people that once lived here. No one is from here and even the distant relatives of the Jews arrive only rarely. But Orla is atypical. There are some high school teachers who are hungry for contact and information about Jews and Judaism. There is a mayor who tried valiantly to restore the synagogue but was blocked by the Jewish authorities in Warsaw. It would all be good for the city to have a tourist industry. Yes, there are also the predators of the religious world missionizing Protestants claiming whatever they claim.
Many thanks to the editor and camera operator Andrzej Gorski.