Mass Grave Cemetery & March 9, 1942 Memorial
(ul. Świerkowa 14, Mielec, Poland – Link to Google Map)
There is a very small plot in a residential district of Mielec on ul. Świerkowa. It is the site of a mass grave of Jews murdered on March 9, 1942 by the German Army during the forced march from the Rynek to the Mielec Labor Camp (KL Mielec) in Cyranka/Berdechów.
There are only four memorials visible at this site (see photos below):
- A gray concrete memorial to Markus and Tauba Amsterdam (erected circa 1960). It is barely readable at this point due to decades of erosion.
- A black granite memorial erected by Rachel Sussman Stroch in memory of her family (erected in 1993)
- A black granite memorial erected by the Blasbalg & Rubin families in memory of those murdered on March 9, 1942 (erected in 1993?)
- A large gray stone memorial in memory of those murdered on March 9, 1942
How to Visit
There is a gate on ul. Świerkowa (maybe 30 meters south-east from the corner of Świerkowa and Wspólna) that is usually closed but not locked. You are welcome to go in. It has not been well-maintained; you will most likely see high grass (spring/summer/fall) or snow (winter).
On March 9, 1942 the Germany Army declared Mielec will henceforth be ‘Judenfrei’ (free of Jews). To enforce this new decree, they announced that all remaining Jews in Mielec must report to the Rynek (center square) immediately, and after verifying that all Jews had vacated their homes, the German Army forced-marched the Jews, with any belongings they could carry, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) north to an aircraft hanger near the airfield in Chorzelów / Cyranka.
It is unknown exactly how many Jews died during this forced march; some reports put it at 1000 or more. By all accounts German soldiers shot on sight any stragglers who could not keep up with the pace of the march. This affected predominantly the elderly and the infirm.
This mass grave site is just off the main road (ul. Sienkiewicza) that runs from the central part of Mielec to the airport, not far from the airport itself.
There are no individual burials at this site; there was a mass grave here of those who died during the forced march of March 9, 1942, and it is presumed that the Amsterdam and Stroch tombstones are memorials that were placed there after the war.