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Former intel agent discovers Jews in mass ‘Christian’ graves

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  • Former intel agent discovers Jews in mass ‘Christian’ graves

    Former intel agent discovers Jews in mass ‘Christian’ graves

    Guide Yaki Gantz is using his secret service past to help piece together the identities of Holocaust victims in unmarked graves in small cemeteries across Poland

    BY NISSAN TZUR December 1, 2013, 4:20 pm 21 Share 226

    MIEDZNA, Poland — In a small cemetery in the Polish village of Kszonzenice in 2004, fledgling guide and former secret service agent Yaki Gantz’s two worlds collided when he found a mass grave with 45 anonymous numbers written on a gravestone.

    After a short investigation he discovered that following a nearby mass murder in 1945, the local priest had gathered the 45 unidentified bodies and copied the numbers he found on their arms, which were carved on the gravestone.

    Gantz turned to Yad Vashem and in a joint effort they were able to identity 19 of the Jewish victims buried in the mass grave.

    Since then, Gantz has taken on the mission of uncovering more mass graves of Jews, mostly those who did not survive the death marches in the final days of the Holocaust, and were buried by local citizens in Christian cemeteries.

    After more than a hundred trips to Poland, Gantz admits each journey becomes more difficult for him.

    “In every journey you discover more and more new details and the question of how it all happened only intensifies,” he says.

    Gantz, 64, was born in Rehovot, Israel. Most of his adult life was spent working for the Israeli secret service, but shortly after his retirement, he decided to become a certified travel guide.

    Gantz specializes in groups travelling to Poland, initially youth groups, but currently retirees. Pensioners from the IDF and the Mossad, employees of several banks and other companies were part of recent groups Gantz has guided.

    Most of these groups are aiding Gantz on his mission to recognize these unidentified Jews and properly memorialize their final resting places.

    And beginning with his initial 2004 discovery, the cooperation of the local Polish authorities has eased the bureaucratic hurdles he would otherwise face.

    “After short negotiations with the local authorities I convinced them to let me put a new gravestone with the names of the Jewish victims. I told my friends from the Shabak [Shin Bet domestic Israeli intelligence service] about it and they agreed to help me to fund the project,” says Gantz.
    Much more.

    Times of Israel
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    There will never be an accurate account of how many civilians were killed (not collaterally) during WWII. Getting an accurate count on the Jewish population is harder because they were more likely to be herded and transported. Many would be brought only part way to a train depot and due to circumstance or "field decision" would be executed and buried in mass graves, mostly unmarked. Some are double and possibly triple counted, but many more will never be counted. This was a bleak moment in human history, and I'm sure the pain and sadness for those who's families were permanently affected can at times still be unbearable if they are involved like this guy is. He has a mission, and I respect him for the drive to do his part to put some of this to rest with the families.


    • #3
      Surely there are more productive things to spend time and money on.
      The year's at the spring
      And day's at the morn;
      Morning's at seven;
      The hill-side's dew-pearled;
      The lark's on the wing;
      The snail's on the thorn:
      God's in his heaven—
      All's right with the world!


      • #4
        Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
        Surely there are more productive things to spend time and money on.
        Best to spend money on the living, agreed, but closure is important for many. With the passing of the second generation there will be less focus on the dead since those who faced the tragedy and their children who saw the effects will have both passed. Those that were there and old enough to remember are going to be at least 75 at this time, with kids in their 40s and 50s. Their children will see it differently, it will be less real for them.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Novaheart View Post
          Surely there are more productive things to spend time and money on.

          Like Eisenhower said... "Get it all on record now - - get the films - - get the witnesses - - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say it never happened." a strong record of the Holocaust is needed because there will soon be no living memories left.