Polish children enjoy bubble party on top of Jewish graves in event organized by town officials

Poland’s chief rabbi sent a scathing letter to the mayor of Kazimierz Dolny for hosting a children’s bubble party on a site where Jews are still buried.

By World Israel News Staff

On June 1 – Children’s Day in many European countries – children in the town of Kazimierz Dolny in Poland enjoyed a festive bubble party that provoked the ire of the country’s chief rabbi, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported.

The reason: It was held on the site of a former Jewish cemetery, and several hundred bodies remain buried underneath.

Authorities had filled the former cemetery with bubbles, and the mayor posted a video of the party on his official Facebook page, the article said.

Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich sent a scathing letter to Mayor Artur Pomianowski on Tuesday, saying that “the party organized on the yard, which was after all fun on the graves, proves that for the municipal authorities, respect for human burial is not an important value,” according to JTA.

“Is this what we want to teach our children about how we treat the dead, our ancestors?” Schudrich said in conversation with the news agency.

Bartłomiej Godlewskia, Kazimierz Dolny’s deputy mayor, sent a letter of apology to the rabbi on Wednesday, the report continues.

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“I regret the wrong decision to organize Children’s Day,” Godlewskia said. “We share a common history and a common home, and it was never our intention to hurt feelings — it was human error.

“I hope that this event will not interfere with our dialogue and cooperation in the future. I extend my apologies to you to the entire Jewish community.”

Józef Skrzeczkowski, director of the town’s Kazimierz Center for Culture, Promotion and Tourism, also offered an apology on Wednesday. “I declare that we had no bad intentions when organizing this event. We didn’t want to hurt anyone or hurt anyone’s religious feelings,” he stated.

It should not be surprising, however, that such an “error” occurred. The cemetery was destroyed five decades ago, although the bodies were not removed. The headstones were used for paving roads and as building materials during the communist era, JTA notes.

For the past five years, Schudrich told JTA, Jewish community representatives in Poland have been in discussion with the town’s mayors in an effort to move the bodies.

“We offered a really nice solution that would involve us helping to fund a new playground and moving the cemetery to an empty field nearby. But they keep stalling or canceling meetings and it seems like the town just doesn’t care,” the rabbi said.

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“We deal with several cemeteries every week; 99% are resolved in a very positive and even sometimes quick manner. Kaziemierz is from the 1%,” he added.

Schudrich said that he would be “following up” on his request to meet with the mayor in order to find a solution once and for all.