NA BISTER

Żabno

See also: Małopolska [Lesser Poland] Roma Martyrology Trail

See also: International Roma Memorial Caravan

Historical background

Unlike in previous towns, the Roma never lived permanently in Żabno. During the occupation, the Germans ordered the town authorities to accommodate a group of Roma, who were supposedly from Westphalia, in the town itself and nearby (it is also reported that they were Austrian Roma). So the refugees were probably expelled by the Germans after the occupation of Poland and the creation of a General Government from its part. Germans resettled Roma here to “clean” native German territories from them, and then concentrate and murder them more easily. These Roma were employed in strengthening flood embankments on the Dunajec and in the brick factory. They lived in rented houses – a few or a dozen people in each house. The death came in the morning of July 8, 1943. The Germans ordered the town officials and policemen to gather in the commune building, gave them the Roma residence addresses and ordered them to have the Roma gathered at the office. Then, the Germans took all their personal belongings and led them to the nearby parish cemetery. There, the Germans executed 49 people and ordered to bury them in a mass grave at the end of the cemetery. Most likely, more victims were buried in the same grave, presumably 12 people, Hungarian Roma, murdered in December the same year in Biskupice Radłowskie.

Description of commemoration

In 1946, at the initiative of local authorities, the grave was enclosed with a concrete plinth and a granite slab with the inscription was placed on it.

In 2012, on the initiative of the District Museum in Tarnów, a new, large, granite tomb replaced the destroyed tombstone. The new tomb was financed by the Minister of the Interior and Administration through the government Program for the Roma community in Poland. The new inscription is preceded by a motto from the poem of Jerzy Ficowski, a well-known Polish gypsyologist and poet, entitled From the bottom of my memory.

Students of the local school take care of the memorial site.

Żabno lies on the Małopolska Roma Martyrology Trail and is visited by the International Roma Memorial Caravan every year.

Inscriptions

The grave:

In Polish:

TU SPOCZYWAJĄ / CYGANI ZAMORDOWANI / Z RĄK OKUPANTA / HITLEROWSKIEGO W ROKU 1943

Translation:

HERE LIE THE GYPSIES MURDERED BY THE NAZI OCCUPYING FORCES IN 1943

The new tomb:

In Polish:

Ostatnie spojrzenia straconych / oddały nam ziemię, / a niebu wróciły błękit. / Co wtedy mówili i komu? // (Jerzy Ficowski, Z głębi pamięci)

TU SPOCZYWAJĄ / NIEZNANI Z IMIENIA ROMOWIE / ZAMORDOWANI PRZEZ NIEMCÓW / W 1943 R.

Translation:

The last glances of the lost / gave us the land, / and returned blue to the sky. / What did they say then and to whom? // (Jerzy Ficowski, From the Depth of Memory)

HERE LIE / UNKNOWN ROMA / MURDERED BY THE GERMANS / IN 1943

 

Date of the unveiling

1946, 2012

Initiator

Local authorities, The District Museum in Tarnów

Address

  1. Cmentarna [Cmentarna Street], Żabno

Location

50°08’14.1″N 20°53’17.0″E

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Materials

 

Gallery

 

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