The Memorial in the Plaszczatka Forest

Part three in a series of three guests blogposts, written by Andy Romanoff.  All photographs ©2014 Andy Romanoff.


In 1941 the Nazis murdered 740 Jews from Stawiski. This is the road they walked them down.


There at the sign ahead they marched them to the left and went deeper into the Plaszczatka Forest. There was no sign then. There was no need yet.


When I saw this I started crying. Such a beautiful day and such a beautiful path.


But the path led here to this place where they were all killed.


There is a small memorial. Black posts mark the outlines. It’s the place where the bodies were dumped and covered with earth. It’s hard to call it burial.


Some are identified, a few at least.


We had no way of knowing if my family was among those buried here but we left stones at the memorial anyway. There has to be some place for a marker.

Andy Romanoff is a photographer and writer who also worked as a cinematographer, specialist camera operator and businessman for fifty years.  Visit his website to see more of his stunning photographs.  

Check out “The Cemetery at Stawiski,” and The Town My Mother Came From, parts one and two of this three-part series. Andy has also written guest posts for this blog about his memories of  growing up in the Hollywood Park neighborhood of Chicago:  Ghost Chicago–Looking for Things No Longer Here–My Childhood, Ghost Chicago–Shaare Tikvah, Albany Park Cool, Bob and Ikey’s Wedding: An Albany Park Story.

Read more about the town of Stawski.

5 Responses to The Memorial in the Plaszczatka Forest

  1. Don Simon February 3, 2016 at 2:25 am #

    Beautiful, Andy. My Grandfather on my mother’s side was from Warsaw. Most likely our ancestors share a common ground besides Kimball and Lawrence.

  2. Frances Archer February 3, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

    Don, I was thinking along the same lines that many of us from the area are descendants of people who came from Poland.

  3. tom atkielski May 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    Was that the same forest where 20,000 of the Polish intelligencia were murdered? Also, my Mom’s parents were born and raised in Krakow, while my Dad’s parents immigrated from Suwalki, Poland, a nice sized town with an active business community! It’s a shame that both my parents died early, so I never got a chance to get in depth about family ties and circumstances!

  4. Linda Jacobson Flack June 25, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    Tom, My grandmother came from a town near Suwalki, called Lazdai. When I would ask what country she was from, she would say that she didn’t know. Very confusing to a 6 year old. But she did mention Suwalki often. Don’t know of too many people from that area.

  5. Frances Archer June 30, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    As a child, I had a hard time understanding why my grandfather would say where he was from was sometimes called Poland, sometimes Russia. He could communicate in German, Yiddish, Russian and Polish to some extent, as well as perfect English, since he arrived in the U.S at age 19.

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