Stary FranciszkówBorough of Opole Lubelskie, Opole District, Lubelskie Voivodship
Type of placeA dug-out in the forest.
Information about the crime
Not many people remember a mass grave in Stary Franciszków. A query in the archives of the Institute of National Remembrance had a negative outcome. We found out about the existence of this place thanks to our friends in Opole Lubelskie who collect accounts of the oldest residents of Opole and surrounding villages. According to the accounts they gathered, six Jews used to hide in a dug-out in the forests in the present borough of Opole Lubelskie. Their hideout was disclosed. Apparently, just before the execution one of the women tore her clothes so they wouldn’t be taken by the torturers. Bodies of the murdered people were thrown into the dug-out and covered with soil. According to Jan (a resident of Franciszków, born in 1925) the hiding Jews, fugitives from the ghetto in Opole Lubelskie, were killed in their dug-out by a grenade which was thrown in (Franciszków Stary, 14 July 2014.)
On 14 October 2014 Fundacja Zapomniane conducted a ground-penetrating radar research of the site which confirmed the existence of a cross cut. GPR readings are rarely so precise. The hideout in the forest which later turned into a grave must have been fortified internally with planks of wood or other material so soil wouldn’t fall on people hiding inside.
The site of the grave has been marked with a symbolic wooden matzevah put up as a part of the “30 matzevahs in 30 days” project in September 2017 – its objective was to mark places of the Holocaust in southern and eastern Poland. The partner of the project was the American Matzevah Foundation.
Identification of the grave based on research
On the13th of October 2014, a GPR survey of the location indicated by the witness was carried out (GPS: N51°05.324′E021°58.181′). The results of the survey confirmed the presence of a very visible ground disturbance with measurements: length approx. 3.0–3.5 m, width 2.5 m and depth approx.1.40–1.60 m (p.p.t.).
The LIDAR survey does not indicate ground disturbance that can imply a forest hideout or a grave.
The aerial photography query for this area wasn’t ordered.
Contact and cooperation
We are still looking for information on the identity of the victims and the location of Jewish graves in Stary Franciszków. If you know something more, write to us at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recording of the Zapomniane Foundation (audio file), name: Jan [witness to the story], b. 1925, subject and keywords: Jewish graves in Stary Franciszków, interviewed by Agnieszka Nieradko, Stary Franciszków, 14 July 2014.