Palmiry


Palmiry is located about twenty kilometres northwest of Warsaw along the highway between Warsaw and Gdansk. Between 1939 and 1943, the forests around Palmiry were used by the Nazis as execution sites by the Polish intelligentsia. The Nazis sought not only to destroy the Jewish population of Poland but also the Polish intelligentsia in a program called Aktion AB (Ausserordentliche Befriedungsaktion). The Polish intelligentsia was considered by the nazis to be a threat to the German hegemony in occupied Poland. Thousands of high-educated and low-educated Poles were murdered by the Nazis at various execution sites around Poland. All the people whom the Nazis thought could be potential leaders of a Polish resistance movement were at risk of being murdered. In Warsaw, the people of Aktion AB were usually murdered at some point in some forest area outside Warsaw. One such place was the Kampino Forest outside the small village of Palmiry.

Those murdered in the Kampino Forest and other similar places around Warsaw (these places were called the Ring of Warsaw) had usually been imprisoned in either the Pawiak prison in Warsaw or the Gestapo headquarters in Warsaw. More than 1,700 Poles and Jews were murdered at 21 confirmed executions at Palmiry. The largest execution took place between 20 and 21 June 1940, when 362 people were murdered. Among those murdered in Palmiry were Polish parliament president Maciej Rataj, Warsaw vice president Jan Pohoski and Olympic champion of 10,000 meters Janusz Kusocinski. Until 2009, the remains of 2,115 people have been found in the Kampino Forest and another forest area called Chojnow. Of these, 577 have been identified.485 people have also been symbolically buried in Palmiry because they are known to have been murdered in Palmiry but the bodies have not been identified. Most likely, not all the remains have been found because the Nazis executed people at different places in the Kampino forest.

Current status: Museum (2009).

Location: 52° 20' 2" N, 20° 44' 41" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Palmiry is located between 5 – 10 minutes drive from the main Gdansk-Warsaw road and is well worth a visit for those who have been ghettoizing Warsaw as a destination. If Palmiry had been a place of execution where Jews had been the majority of the victims, it would certainly have been better known and talked about. The cemetery is really atmospheric because it is located in the middle of a national park surrounded by forests.

Follow up in books: Lukas, Richard C: Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles Under German Occupation 1939-1944 (2008).