A project for reconciliation between Germans and Poles, for democracy and against antisemitism. Creation of a memorial in connection with the revitalisation of the names of the former members of the Jewish community and the salvage and re-erection of the gravestones of the cemetery in Garnsee/West Prussia – today Gardeja – as a German-Polish educational project.
In Gardeja, 70 km from Gdansk, a memorial for the former German/jewish population is being set up. The names and fates of the families, now spread across the world, will be researched and displayed, while the gravestones sunk in the two lakes will be salvaged and re-erected on the existing grave mounds. Because of the existence of the two grave mounds, this is and remains a Jewish cemetery by Jewish law, which has been forgotten over the decades.
The memorial thus erected is expressly endorsed and supported on a national level by the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Polish Ministry of Culture.
Poles and Germans are working together on the project, as the people who live in Gardeja want to keep the memory of the Jewish citizens of Poland and Germany alive and give their remembrance a name. To date, the descendants of 20 families have been researched worldwide. They live in the USA, Germany, Israel, Brazil, England and the Netherlands. These results will be shown as part of a standing exhibition in a
lapidarium that is to be constructed.
The entire local council of Gardeja supports the project. In preparation for it, we are in constant communication with the mayor. The gravestones are to be salvaged from the two lakes in May and secured for the exhibition at the site of the memorial. The project is supported by Slawomir Lorek, parish priest of the Roman-Catholic church of the Holy Heart of Christ. The diocesan bishop of Elbing, Jacek Jezierski, also supports the project.
The umbrella organisation of Jewish communities in Poland, represented by Mr. Jacub Szadaj from Gdansk, supports the undertaking from Jewish point of view.
With the friendly support of Dr Justus Werdin, EKBO priest for cross-border ecumenism at the Berliner Missionswerk Ecumenical Centre, in the past year a personal discussion took place with archbishop and metropolitan of Gniezno, emeritus Primate of Poland, Henryk Jozef Muszynski, who assured us of the Catholic Church in Poland’s support.
In this regard, we will be in direct contact with Dr. hab. Rafal Makowski. In the Warsaw curia, he is the person responsible for Christian-Jewish dialogue.
Dr Justus Werdin wrote to us: archbishop and metropolitan of Gniezno, emeritus Primate of Poland Henryk Jozef Muszynski reminded me of this statement of Richard v. Weizsäcker in 2003:
“There can be no reconciliation between Poles and Germans without the Jews. There can be no reconciliation between Germans and Jews without the Poles. And There can be no reconciliation between Poles and Jews without the Germans!”
In the common understanding of this history, we are supported by the Catholic Church in Poland.
In the lapidarium to be created, a standing exhibition on the families researched to date will be set up. In addition, we will erect a panel of donors, listing by name all those who have donated alongside the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Polish Authorities. As soon as the memorial is created, gravestones will be able to be adopted for their preservation and maintenance.
By Jewish law, images are not permitted in graveyards. For this reason, we will give thought to any potential news, prayers and wishes within the exhibition.
The community of Gardeja and the neighbouring community of Marienwerder will use the project in teaching across the voivodeship and publish it as part of school history materials.
After completion, the site of memorial will be handed over by the Mamlock FOUNDATION into the administration of the community or voivodeship and also listed as an official memorial in Poland. The project is also under the supervision of the FOUNDATION FOR THE PRESERVATION OF JEWISH HERITAGE IN POLAND, Warsaw. (www.fodz.pl)
The MAMLOCK FOUNDATION is a society acting for a living
culture of remembrance, against antisemitism and for the values of democracy. We expressly support friendship and common understanding on the basis of the shared burden of history between Poland, Germany and Israel.
Please help us in the development of this German-Polish educational project.
Donations account: Pax Bank eG DE 84 3706 0193 6002 5750 17