“OUR DEAD NEW BORN BABY | DEATH”
This rock was found at the Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetary in Warsaw, Poland. The cemetery was founded in 1806 and, after being destroyed during the German invasion of Poland, remains very overgrown and dilapidated only recently being restored for use by the small population of Jews remaining in Warsaw. Specifically, the stone was one of many rocks placed near a grave as a sign of respect and morning, as is custom in Jewish culture. The rock was laid at a symbolic grave founded and sponsored by Jack Fisner, a survivor of the Holocaust who lost all of his immediate and distant family, with the exception of his mother Zlatka, in the tragedy. Fisner sponsored the grave “In memory of one million Jewish children murdered by Nazi German barbarians, 1939-1945.”
Despite the fact that this stone was merely one of thousands placed at this memorial, it stood out to me as a powerful representation of the magnitude of the Holocaust both in history and the present day. Chances that the words on the rock were actually written by individuals who lost a new born baby in the Holocaust are very slim, although it is near impossible to pinpoint whom the owners of the rock are. However, this speaks to the universality of the Holocaust. Whether the writing on the rock is recent and symbolic of the many murdered children, or it was left by parents who lost a child and understand the magnitude of such a death, or left by someone who was actually witness to WWII, the stone is an emotional way of experience the pain experienced by those in Warsaw, Poland during the rise of the Third Reich.