Mr Ireneusz Socha from Debica
I was born and raised in Debica. I work as
a translator. In the years 1981-1993 I lived in the block of
flats which was built in the immediate neighborhood of the Jewish
cemetery in Debica.
Living in there I felt kind of guilty for the horrible state of
the place and soon I developed a liking and interest in the
history and culture of Polish Jews just to know more and perhaps
to help change the cemetery's state in a way.
I several times wrote to alarm the then Jewish Communities'
Congregation in the Republic of Poland. I wrote a few features on
the cemetery for the local press in the Eighties. I also
complained about the situation to the municipal authorities,who
finally and upon Mr. Goldberg's motions, too, decided to build a
fence around the place. This first fence, made up of concrete
panels and iron Stars of David running alternately, was completed
in 1983, shortly after the martial law. In consequence, I was
treated as a Jew myself.
The authorities, neighbors, even friends and relatives considered
me gone crazy or of Jewish origin. But I paid no attention and
continued to chase away children and adults who devastated the
place and even played games there.
Many times I witnessed visits from Israeli and American tourists
searching for their families' graves in the cemetery. I watched
them and tried to talk to them and explain what they saw. But
rarely ever I seemed to be properly understood: the tourists'
hearts were shattered at the sight of ancient matzevot crushed
and piled up in disorder with children playing hide and seek
among the ruins. The negative emotions prevalent. they did not
believe me when I said that not every Pole had sucked anti-Semitism
with his mother's milk. But what was there to explain when they
returned year after year to see the place further littered and
demolished. The little fence was gradually destroyed and anybody
who wished to enter the cemetery would. Nothing really changed,
because the residents of the adjacent block did not want to
understand that the place demanded respect. Moreover, they were
afraid of losing their apartments for a rumor had been spread
that" Jews were going to buy the ground from the city and
take the block down". Of course, in the communist days no
city official bothered to dispel those stupid rumors.
Mr. Goldberg did not live to it, but at long last the Jewish
cemetery in Debica wasdecluttered and surrounded with a new and
solid fence. A new gate and a memorial plate were also funded by
the Nissenbaum Foundation. Things look more optimistic now.