TREBLINKA, Poland (JTA) – Polish Jews and supporters of the Jewish community commemorated the Jewish uprising in the Treblinka Nazi extermination camp.
“We burned in hell,” said Samuel Willenberg, the last surviving prisoner of Treblinka, during Sunday’s ceremony on the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the uprising.
The ceremony, organized by Poland’s Jewish Historical Institute, was attended by newly appointed spokesman for the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Father Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, who read Psalm 23 in Polish and Hebrew. Rytel-Andrianik was born in Sokolow Podlaski near Treblinka. He studied in Jerusalem for several years and speaks 16 languages.
Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich read the El Male Rahamim prayer and Rabbi Stas Wojciechowicz said the Mourners’ Kaddish.
In conjunction with the ceremony, an exhibition was opened displaying photos taken since 2007 which document the exhumation of mass graves in Treblinka. Pieces of jewelry and a shoe found in the mass grave also were on display.
The revolt of Treblinka prisoners broke out on Aug. 2, 1943. Some 200 prisoners escaped, and hundreds were killed while trying to escape. As a result, the Germans started to close down the camp, which stopped functioning in November 1943.