LachówkaBorough of Siemiatycze, Siemiatycki District, Podlaskie Voivodship
Type of placeForest
Information about the crime
In March 1972, a witness Franciszek L. interrogated by The Białystok Regional Commission for the Examination of German Crimes in Poland testified: “[…] in the late autumn of 1942, German military policemen captured a Jewish woman who was hiding after the liquidation of the ghetto in Siemiatycze. Her name was Berkowa. She was about 30 years old. The military policemen took her and her 5-year-old son and murdered them in the Grabina forest. In 2019, the current owner of the forest in which the grave of a woman with a child is to be located, has contacted the Foundation. During the site inspection of the grave, he shared his knowledge about the circumstances of the woman’s from Siemiatycze death: “I mean, I know it form stories, because when this murder happened, I was only one year old. But this man [the eyewitness with whom our interlocutor kept in touch] was thirteen years old. And he claims that he saw the moment when they stopped them, because the military policemen were driving through the village, along the side of the village, and this woman with her boy was in someone’s backyard. And she got scared and started to run away. And they saw that someone was running away. They stopped them and shot them. And this man claims he saw it, this moment of detention. But he did not see this shooting, because they rushed them one kilometer into the forest there. Oh, that’s all … And there was a grave.
– And this Jewish woman was hiding here with the child somewhere?
– I don’t know that, I guess she was wandering there, well … because it was not that someone gave her up. Maybe she was hiding, maybe she stopped there only for a moment… It was just such a bad luck that the military policemen just happened to be driving. And that was all. ” (Lachówka, autumn 2019)
The place of the grave was marked with a wooden matzevah in 2020 as part of the project “Reference points – marking 24 Jewish war graves with wooden matzevot ” . The project is an attempt to find a way to mark these places before they can be commemorated. The action was aimed as an intervention in the landscape of these places, which would remind about what remains invisible, even if present in the memory of local communities.Being only a temporary commemoration, wooden matzevot invite local communities to discuss and take action, to discover the places, and perhaps to start their own memory practice related to them or to permanently commemorate them.
You can read more about the project here: https://tinyurl.com/2p9ar52f
The project was implemented thanks to funding from the Stowarzyszenie Żydowski Instytut Historyczny and The Matzevah Foundation.
IDENTIFICATION OF THE GRAVE BASED ON NON INVASIVE RESEARCH
On January 20, 2020 a site inspection was carried out in the presence of a witness to determine the location of the graves of two victims. The indicated area (GPS: N52 ° 29.991 ′ E022 ° 50.572 ′) was then marked by a witness with a dug in fragment of a stripped tree.
The LiDAR survey shows numerous ground disturbances at this location.
No aerial pictures query has been conducted for this area.
At the place of indication and marking, GPR surveys were carried out in order to precisely identify the burial ground of two victims. On the echogram named LAC20001 and LAC20002, the anomalous zone of approx. 5.60 m – approx. 8.20 m was marked. On the LAC20001 echogram, an anomaly was recorded that started at approx. 5.60 m and continued to approx. 8.0 m, with an approximate depth of 1.30 – 1.50 m below the sea level. On the echogram called LAC20002, the anomaly was recorded at approx. 5.60 m – 7.20 m, with an approximate depth of 1.30 – 1.50 m below the sea level. The anomaly recorded on both echograms (LAC20001 / LAC20002) may be related to the searched grave of two victims.
We would like to thank the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Warsaw for funding the research project, thanks to which GPR research was carried out for this place.
Contact and cooperation
We are still looking for information on the identity of the victims and the location of Jewish graves in Lachówka. If you know something more, write to us at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Testimony of Franciszek Lubowicki of March 15, 1972. OKBZHB S. 183/68
Recording of the Zapomniane Foundation (audio file), Norbert S. resident of Siemiatycze, co-owner of the plot on which the grave is located, keywords: Jewish grave in Lachówka; exp. Agnieszka Nieradko and Aleksander Schwarz, Siemiatycze, 20 January 2020.