«Templos judíos». Las reliquias de una edad de oro

La Ley de Emancipación de 1867 –que hoy hace ciento cuarenta y nueve años fue unánimemente aprobada por el parlamento húngaro– abrió el camino para el ascenso social de los judíos de este país. Al mismo tiempo, el Compromiso Austro-Húngaro tuvo como consecuencia un boom económico nunca antes visto para todo el país. La burguesía judía tenía así todos los motivos para pensar que Canaán ya está aquí (como dijo, en otro contexto, el gran poeta contemporáneo Sándor Petőfi).

Este sentimiento, este orgullo y confianza en la emancipación social y económica, se hizo visible en las grandes sinagogas erigidas a finales del siglo. Tamás Halbrohr, superior emérito de la sinagoga de Szabadka/Subotica, cita las palabras de sus constructores, «no construimos sinagogas, sino templos judíos», centros sagrados en pie de igualdad con las iglesias cristianas, cuyo diseño representativo y soluciones arquitectónicas también recuerdan el Templo de Jerusalén y la edad de oro que se asocia a él. Tales fueron las grandes sinagogas de las ciudades más importantes, Budapest, Pozsony/Bratislava, Nagyvárad/Oradea, Szeged, cuyo estilo historicista, y a menudo orientalista, hace referencia a la milenaria historia judía. O las impresionantes sinagogas de la grande llanura húngara, Hódmezővásárhely, y sobre todo Szabadka/Subotica, que utilizaron los motivos del «Art Nouveau húngaro» ideado por los arquitectos de Budapest para expresar su identificación con la nación húngara.

Recorrimos estos magníficos templos judíos a lo largo del pasado año con el equipo de rodaje de Eti Peleg. En cada uno conversamos con historiadores del arte, arquitectos, historiadores locales, miembros de las propias comunidades, para rescatar así las intenciones de aquellos constructores y comisionados únicos, y evocar juntos el espíritu de la época formulado en los edificios. El espíritu de una época que, de no estar mediado retrospectivamente y sin remedio por el prisma de la tragedia de medio siglo después, podríamos considerar en verdad como la edad de oro de los judíos húngaros.

La película ya está lista. Ahora buscamos distribuidores. Mientras tanto, ofrecemos aquí este breve resumen. Y, una vez más, damos las gracias a todos aquellos que nos ayudaron en su preparación.

“Jewish temples”. Relics of a golden age

The 1867 Emancipation Act – which today a hundred and forty-nine years ago was unanimously approved by the Hungarian Parlament – opened the way for the social rise of Hungarian Jews. At the same time, the Austro-Hungarian Compromise brought a never seen economic boom for the whole country. The Jewish bourgeoisie had every reason to think that Canaan is already here (as it was said in another context by the great contemporary poet Sándor Petőfi).

This feeling, this proud and confident mood of social and economic emancipation manifested itself in the great synagogues built at the end of the century. As Tamás Halbrohr, emeritus superior of the synagogue of Szabadka/Subotica cites the words of their builders, “we build not synagogues, but Jewish temples”, sacred centres on a par with Christian churches, whose representative design and architectural solutions also recall the Jerusalem Temple and the golden age associated with it. Such were the great synagogues of the big cities, Budapest, Pozsony/Bratislava, Nagyvárad/Oradea, Szeged, whose historicist and often orientalist style refer to the thousands of years of Jewish history. Or the impressive synagogues of the great Hungarian plains, Hódmezővásárhely, and, above all, Szabadka/Subotica, which used the motifs of the “Hungarian Art Nouveau”, devised by the architects of Budapest, for the expression of their identification with the Hungarian nation.

We visited these magnificent Jewish temples over the past year with Eti Peleg’s shooting team. In each location we talked with art historians, architects, local historians, members of the local communities, to evoke the intentions of the one-time builders and commissioners, and the spirit of the age formulated in the buildings. The spirit of an age which, if not seen with our hindsight, through the prism of a half-century later tragedy, we really can consider as the golden age of Hungarian Jewry.

The movie has been completed, now we are looking for distributors. In the meantime we publish the following short summary. And once again thank everyone who helped in its preparation.

Jazz on bones, or the real teddy boys. A Moscow subculture from the fifties

The soldiers returning from the war brought back discs, movies, clothes. The Russians who for decades had lived in isolation, suddenly confronted with the colorful and exciting life in the West, and they loved it. However, with the beginning of the Cold War the “American” way of life became undesirable again, and those who, in spite of formal and unofficial prohibitions listened to “bad” music, danced “bad” dances and dressed “inappropriately”, had to reckon with harsh retaliation.

Nevertheless, there were some courageous (?), crazy (?), or simply adventurous young people, who, in spite of all prohibition, wanted to follow the American way of life. Of course, the “American” way of life had a special meaning in Moscow of the 50s. An incredible subculture emerged, and the stilyagi appeared after Moscow also in Leningrad, and, in fact, almost every major city. From the late forties to as late as the sixties, they enjoyed life in small or large companies. At first it does not sound so risky, but it all happened in the worst period of Stalin’s terror, and in the territory of the Soviet Union, which was notorious of its not-so-wide supply of goods.

Since they could not go abroad, and had no fresh visual material, they conceived America from what they had from the war stock. They transformed the clothes brought home by the soldiers, and watched again and again the few American films they had access to. The key film – primarily because of its music – was Sun Valley Serenade (1941). This suggested them which clothes to wear, this was, for example, the source of the deer sweatshirts fetishism. The train illustrating the song Chattanooga Choo Choo gained a magic-symbolic significance: this let them fly from the pedestrian Soviet reality to the super-America of the imagination. And, of course, everyone listened to jazz. Since proper records were almost completely unavailable, they resorted to a procedure, which was also known to the young people in Hungary of the fifties (at least I have seen a scene like this in the film Nap utcai fiúk, “Boys of Sun Street”): they copied the music on used X-ray discs. This is why they called such discs jazz on bones (джаз на костях) or the skeleton of Granny. This morbid story was summarized just a couple of months ago by Stephen Coates’ richly illustrated X-Ray Audio: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone.

The introductory song of the short documentary is no jazz, but the famous Odessan gangster’s song Murka, about which we wrote in an earlier post

They developed a peculiar slang, whose basic words were mixed English-Russian terms. They called each other chuvak, which is a mosaic word for “one worshiping Amerikan high culture” (Человек Уважающий Высокую Американскую Культуру). At night they walked down the main street they called Broadway, that is, Moscow’s Gorky Street, went up to someone’s apartment, that is, “hata”, and there they danced in their own style. They developed three types of boogie-woogie: “atomic”, “Canadian” and “triple Hamburger” – it’s a pity I don’t know what they were like, only that Hamburger was the slow one.

There is no subculture without dealers catering for it, and so also in Moscow appeared the fartsovshchiks, who could provide for this special demand. They had good contacts, language skills, and an ability to see through police traps. They traded in ties (colorful silyotki), fashionable headgears, clothing, shoes, records, musical instruments. By the end of the sixties, the stilyagi were replaced by the hippies and other subcultures. However, the fartsovshchiki remained, just changed profile. In the Soviet shortage economy it was not difficult to sell products imported from the West, as anyone on scholarship, on job, or on a simple travel in the Soviet Union could experience it.

Interviews with former stilyagi and fartsovshchiki

Apart from parties and secret purchases, the stilyagi were mostly preoccupied with the war against the komsomolki specialized in confronting them. Even the term stilyaga was coined by a state-sponsored humorist, a certain Belyaev in the March 1949 issue of the satyric weekly Krokodil, from where it then spread. He, of course, talks in a quite negative sense about this funny figure, who is ridiculous, scruffy, ignorant of the basic rules of social life, and thus it is no wonder that the young Soviet people just laughs at him. As to the stilyagi, they called themselves statniki, belonging to the (United) States. Then, as usual, the term which had started its career as a mocking word, became the accepted name of the subculture, which was understood by everyone. The self-conscious female komsomolka, for example, could cast in the stilyaga’s teeth: Я не лягу под стилягу! (in a free translation: I don’t go to bed with a teddy boy!)

Soviet cartoon: The stilyaga is the agent of the West!

“Today you play jazz, tomorrow you betray the fatherland!”

This whole story could have lost in oblivion, had not been there Aleksey Kozlov, who in his autobiography of 2001 wrote about how he had become a saxophonist, how he founded his legendary jazz-rock band Arsenal, and how it all was linked to the story of the Moscow stilyagi. Then in 2008 partly based on Kozlov’s stories, and partly on his own imagination, Valery Todorovsky directed a film titled Stilyagi (Hipsters in the English release). All the details of the film are based on true events, but, due to a basic fraud, the whole cannot be considered an authentic document: the musical world of the film is taken from the golden era of Russian rock in the 80s. Well, it might be non-authentic, but this makes it really enjoyable, and this started the still longing stilyaga/teddy boy frenzy in Russia.

On 29 November we start the film club of río Wang with the film Stilyagi. In the club, Vadim Kemény presents every month a great Russian film from the production of the past few years, which is virtually unknown in the West. More details and registration on our Facebook site.

Valerij Barykin rajza

The three synagogues of the concentration camp

At the publication of the “racial laws” in 1938, 9170 Jewish foreign nationals stayed with permit in Italy. Many of them had lived there for decades, while others fled there after the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, for total deprivation of rights – including the deprivation of nationality – and the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime. Then, in 1938 the period of rambling started for them in Italy as well. Its route mostly crossed Genoa. Many of them were students, from the best schools in Eastern Europe, who wanted to start and, hopefully, finish their studies in Italy. Their personal files can be still found at the universities of Genoa and other Italian cities, including their registry data as well as the information on their studies, the exams passed, grades, theses, addresses in their homeland and in Italy. At the upper edge of many files a stamp shows the student’s belonging to the Jewish race. The wandering from university to university, in the hope of completing their studies, made a “wandering Jewish student” of all of them.

Their wandering ended in 1940, when all of them were interned in the concentration camps for foreign Jews coming from Eastern European countries. One of these was set up next to Ferramonti di Tarsia in Calabria, Southern Italy. The camp was established in a marshy region, as an extension of the barracks set up for the workers of the Parrini company performing the drainage. Although the territory did not meet the requirements of the Ministry of the Interior, Parrini managed, via his connections, to obtain a concession to the expansion of the camp, and to register the first Jewish internees as its workers. In addition, he managed to obtain the corresponding food supply to the internees.

The camp of Ferramonti

The interior of a barrack in Ferramonti

Ferramonti was rather a village than a concentration camp, and for more than one reason. Some of the camp directors were extremely humane persons, such as the first commander, Paolo Salvatore. The prisoners themselves, who were mostly highly skilled professionals, always behaved in an intelligent and cooperative manner. The generous and receiving behavior of the local population greatly contributed to it, just as well as the monk sent from the Vatican, who primarily provided not spiritual, but practical tasks.

Father Callisto Lopinot

Due to the mild treatment of camp commander Paolo Salvatore, life went on in the most tolerable way in the camp. If it was necessary, he never denied an exit permit. People could take photos, and listen to the radio. They set up a primary school, and Salvatore himself regularly took the children on his car to the village for an ice cream, or drove them on his motorcycle around the camp.

Paolo Salvatore

The camp had its own library, where a little local newspaper was printed. They had their own bakery, where they also baked ritual matzah, as well as a tailor’s shop, where the prisoners’ dress was tailored by size.

The camp had its own parliament, into which each barrack delegated one representative. The representatives then elected the “supreme leader”, who negotiated with the commanders about the camp’s affairs.

Reb Pacifici in the “parliament” of Ferramonti

The families were not segregated, and they also held weddings. Twenty-one children were born in Ferramonti.

Jewish wedding

Children in Ferramonti

Since they were all Jews, in Ferramonti there were as many as three synagogues. An Orthodox, a Reform Synagogue, and a third one for the Zionist Betar organization.

The interior of one of the three synagogues

Culture and sport helped to connect such diverse groups. Concerts, theater performances, readings, poetry competitions were organized. Many of the prisoners were artists, for whom a separate barrack was kept as a studio. Here worked, for example, Michel Fingenstein, a renowned painter and ex libris artist. European football championships were also held. Of the Yugoslav-Polish match we have the full written chronicle.

At the piano, Lav Mirski; the two singers, Gildin Gorin and Elly Silberstein

The barrack reserved for a studio. The first from the left is Michel Fingenstein

Football match

Nevertheless, hunger and insects were also common in Ferramonti, together with the sense that something terrible is happening out there in the world.

The interned included Jews from Rome, Germany, Austria and Poland, the exiles of Eastern Europe, Jews from Libya, Lyublyana and Serbia, as well as the passengers of Pentcho. The latter river steamer sailed from the port of Bratislava in the hope of reaching Palestine, but it ran aground next to the island of Rhodes, which at that time belonged to Italy.


The inhabitants of the camp also included Yugoslav, Greek and Chinese partisans.

In 1943, when the German army in Italy began to retreat, most of the internees, especially the youngest ones were hidden by the neighboring peasants in the forests and in their homes. The monk managed to convince the Germans that a cholera epidemic was raging in the camp, thus preventing their intrusion. The camp was liberated in September 1943 by the British, who at the same time banned the emigration to Palestine. A lot of people stayed there until the end of the war, before they decided where to start a new life.

The Jewish Brigade of Ferramonti

Many of them became famous as artists, writers, scholars or athletes. The Berlin physician and psychiatrist Ernst Bernhard became an outstanding student of Carl Gustav Jung in Zurich. Richard Dattner from Poland emigrated to the United States, where he became a renowned architect. Oscar Klein from Austria became one of the world’s most famous jazz trumpet players. Imi Lichtenfeld, born in Budapest, became one of the most outstanding martial artists of the century, a founder of the Krav Maga self-defense sport, and of the Israeli army. The Yugoslavian doctor David Melt was repeatedly nominated for the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the vaccine against dysentery. Alfred Weisner was the discoverer of the Algida ice cream-making process, and founder of the company of the same name.

And how did I find this story? Through the documentary Ferramonti, il campo ʻsospeso’ (Ferramonti, the “suspended” camp), directed by Christian Calabretta, and presented by Rai Storia on a Sunday afternoon. I wanted to dig better into it, so I wrote to Mario Rende, the author of the essay Ferramonti di Tarsia, published at Mursia. Through him I got to know better the group of the “Genoa Jews”. I spent two days in the archive of the University of Genoa, where I studied the personal files of the students, especially of the medical students.

A complete list of the internees with birth data and the conditions of internment was compiled by Anna Pizzuti, and it is now fully searchable on the web: Ebrei stranieri internati in Italia durante il periodo bellico.

We even know the faces of many of them, thanks to the documentation made available on the net by the University of Bologna and the Local Government of Ferramonti. I also publish some of them, but I’m sure that many more pictures can be found in the family albums dispersed in Europe and all over the world. The captions of the photos include the name of the persons, their father and mother’s name, place and date of birth.

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On request of Yolanda Bentham, the daughter of David Ropschitz who was born in Lemberg in 1913 and graduated in Genoa, with several months of research work I managed to find out the identity of one of her father’s fellow students, later his fellow prisoner and dear friend.

David Ropschitz, Isaac Klein, Isacco Friedmann

It was not easy, because Isacco’s history is very different from that of the other students. He was born in 1914 in Brody. He arrived in Italy in 1921, when his father, Leone, who had been captured during the First World War, let his wife and son come after him. In the Genoese fortress of Forte Begato, where he spent his captivity, he found a friendly environment, where he could continue his work. Brody was one of the most important Jewish centers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was often called “the Austrian Jerusalem”, as well as a strategical location of the Russian-Austrian trade. Before the war, tailors were one of the most important industry, with 139 workshops and small factories, all in Jewish hands. The tailors’ guild belonged to the most influential corporations, and had their own rabbi, who was highly respected within the local Jewish community.

Leone’s decision saved the lives of his wife Sara, and of the little Isacco. During the Nazi occupation, all the Jewish inhabitants of Brody, including Isacco’s sixteen relatives, were killed: the majority on the spot, and the rest in the concentration camps.

Entrance of the Brody ghetto, 1942-1943

Jews of Brody awaiting deportation

Sara undertook the great journey across Europe. For a while she was forced to stay in Prague, because the little Isacco got typhoid. When the family united again, a new boom dawned for the Friedmanns.

From left to right, Isacco (Iso), his mother Sara, his little brothers Giuseppe and Sigismondo (Gigi), who were already born in Italy, and behind them the father, Leone

Isacco studied in Liceo Cassiniben. On 11 July 1939 he graduated from the medical faculty, and thus lived a very different life than his Jewish fellow students, who had been forced to leave behind their families and their homeland because of the racial laws. His carefree life ended in 1940 with the internment in Ferramonti.

Isacco Friedmann (left) with a group of doctors interned in Ferramonti

Isacco arrived in Ferramonti with the first group, which made the camp habitable for the later arrivals. He won the confidence of camp commander Salvatore, who moved him to the nearby Lungro, practically in free conditions. However, when he offered his medical services free of charge and with success to the locals, the local doctor reported him, and they were forced to take him back to the camp. He stayed there until 30 July 1942. Then he was commanded to Santo Stefano D’Aveto near Genoa, where he stayed until 12 November 1943. Then, to avoid being arrested, he withdrew to the mountains, and spent there – as he recalled – the worst years of his life. After the war he had a successful medical career, got married and had a son, and today, at the age of 102 he is still a brilliant, educated and charming gentleman, as I experienced when we met in person. In August of this year they shared with Yolanda, who came from England, their photos, incredible stories, and not always pleasant memories, which bear exceptional witness to what happened in Ferramonti.

Inge and Isacco Friedmann (left) with Yolanda Bentham

Upon request, I gladly send copies of the personal files of the Genoese university students. Herewith I want to thank for the opportunity to Roberta Rabboni, head of the secretariat of the medical and pharmaceutical faculty, without whose helpfulness I would not hae had access to this material. And of course I welcome any recollections or photos, which I will share with the researchers of the museum in Ferramonti. Everyone can contribute to the reconstruction of this story, who was witness to all this violence and suffering, but also carried the hope of a better future. And who still remembers that Ferramonti was basically a history of salvation.

Polish cemetery on the Caspian shore

Bandar-e Anzali, advertisement of a photographer-cameraman next to the cemetery. The photographers, followed by the gaze of the locals, try to enter the cemetery

“How do you imagine waking one up so early in the morning? I have not even got dressed, I have not had breakfast, either! How does such a thing seem to you?” indignantly shouts the woman with a multicolored headscarf at the barely open gate of the Armenian cemetery. I think, if I lived in a graveyard, I would not dare close my eyes all night long, let alone have breakfast among the dead. “We came from Lahestan”, I lie, “we want to visit the graves of the Lahestani soldiers”, and in the meantime I apologetically repeat to myself under my breath the mantra of polak-węgier dwa bratanki, ultimately we are brothers. “At this time?” she shouts implacably. “It is eight’o clock, the graveyard only opens at ten!” In the morning, the Persians do not rush for anything, least of all for visiting the dead, who are well enough alone until ten. “I will pay”, I say amiably. The iron door opens wider.

The Armenian cemetery in Bandar-e Anzali is inhabited by the most diverse nations. The Armenian colony of the Caspian Sea port city was once populous, now they are only a handful: their church still stands, but is locked. Apart from them, Assyrian Christians also rest in the graveyard under tombstones with Syriac and Cyrillic inscriptions, Russians from the 17th century on, Vlachs from every period of the ductile Romanian state formations, and many others. We want to take photos, but the woman forbids it. A Lahestani only can shoot his own in the Lahestani cemetery. We are only allowed the grave of an Italian-born Slovenian, because, with the word “lahka” on the tomb (in Slovenian, “light”, i.e. let the earth be to him) I can prove to the Cerbera that he was a Polish woman.

The Polish cemetery is separated by a low wall from the Armenian one: after all, they are all Catholic heretics. It also has a gate from the street, with the large inscription CMENTARZ POLSKI, quite striking in Iran, but it is closed with a padlock. It can be accessed only from the Armenian graveyard. On the gate, a worn Persian-language plaque announces that here burials took place between 1939 and 1945. A unique feature of the inscription is that it counts the years in the European way, from the birth of Christ. In a Persian text they should have written these years counted from the Hegira, for example, 1317–1323. If a Persian looks at the text, he might have a bizarre kind of feeling, as if we were to read the year of 2500 in a public inscription.

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What happened to the Poles in Persia between 1939 and 1945, that is, between 1317 and 1323, that they left a whole graveyard of deceased behind themselves?

This story, which passed from Lwów through Kazakhstan and Persia to Montecassino and the Edinburgh zoo, and which has left behind many mementos in places like Tehran’s Bar Polonia, Isfahan’s Polish cemetery and Ahvaz’s downtown Campulu, that is, Camp Polonia district, is being researched and will soon be detailed in a number of posts by Dani Kálmán here at río Wang, so we will here only summarize the main thread concerning the Bandar-e Anzali cemetery.

After the Red Army, on 17 September 1939, marched into the eastern part of Poland, according to the official argument to defend the brotherly nations of “Western Ukraine” and “Western Belarus” threatened by the German invaders, and held joint victory parades with the same German invaders from Brest to Pińsk, the deportation of the anti-Soviet elements into the interior part of the Empire began, the horror of which is described by Ryszard Kapuściński in the heartbreaking introductory essay “Pińsk, 1939” of his Imperium. By June of 1941, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union, approximately one and a half million Poles were deported to Siberian labor camps. What is more, before their retreat from the German invasion, the Red Army were even careful enough to massacre the thousands of captives in the Eastern Polish prisons whom they had no time to deport.

In July 1941, the British and American allies persuaded Stalin to permit the deported Poles to fight on their side against the Germans. At that time, nearly half of the deported were still alive. They estimate between one and two hundred thousand the number of those who set out on foot on the terrible way from the camp to Persia before the arrival of the Siberian winter, or before Stalin changed his mind. Many of them died on the road or while crossing the Caspian Sea. The survivors who arrived in the port of Bandar-e Anzali – known as Pahlavi before the Islamic revolution of 1979 – were briefly quarantined, and then distributed among the Polish refugee camps of Tehran, Isfahan and Ahvaz. For those who died here from exhaustion, typhus or sometimes from the unusually good nutrition, the Polish government in exile purchased in March 1942 a part of the Armenian cemetery, the second largest Polish cemetery in today’s Iran.

Polish refugees arriving to the port of Pahlavi, 1942

Polish refugees arriving to the port of Pahlavi, 1942. From the kresy-siberia.org site

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Polish deportees and refugees, including children, waiting to be enlisted in the newly created Polish Army in the Soviet Union; theatre show for Polish troops, and puppet figures of Goebbels and Hitler; column of Polish troops on their way through Persia; evacuation of Polish citizens through Persia; children of the Polish Young Soldiers Cadet School in in Bashshit, Palestine. From the Imperial War Museum

In 1983, Khosrow Sinai made the film مرثیه گمشده , Marsiye-ye gomshode / The Lost Requiem about the Polish refugees in Persia in 1942. The Iranian government allowed it to be screened only once, but for the past few years it has been available on Youtube. The director interviews the local photographer Gholam Abdol Rahimi, who from the very beginning documented the arrival of the Poles to Pahlavi. He recalls it like this:

“They were in bad shape, thin, ill and in rags… A friend of mine, a carpenter, used to make coffins for them. About 50 were dying every day.”

Rahimi’s photos are still not available. Instead of them, we try to illustrate the lives of the refugees with those of Nick Parrino, taken in the Polish refugee camp in Tehran.

“Teheran, Iran. Polish woman and her grandchildren shown in an American Red Cross evacuation camp as they await evacuation to new homes”

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“Teheran, Iran. Young Polish refugee at an evacuation camp operated by the Red Cross”

Today the cemetery is like it was in Sinai’s film, only the pine trees have grown large in the meantime, forming a veritable forest around the graves. The monument in the middle of the graveyard, crowned with the Polish eagle, mentions 639 deceased, soldiers and civilians alike. The two are not so easy to distinguish, because many civilians – even women and children – were allowed out of the Soviet Union or onto the vessels only if the Polish army enrolled them in its ranks.

“This is the final resting place of 639 Poles, the soldiers of the Polish army in the East of General Wladyslaw Anders, and civilians, the former prisoners of war and captives of the Soviet camps, who died in 1942 on the way to their homeland. Peace to their memory.”

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Rows of graves are lined up on both sides of the monument, each with eighteen concrete headstones showing the names of the deceased, their dates of birth and death, and also the ranks for the soldiers. If they were known, because there are many “Nieznany”, of whom only the date of death was certain. It is striking how many children lie here. Obviously because they were more vulnerable than the adults, but also because their proportion was unusually high among the refugees. The Polish mothers, if they already gave up the march, at least entrusted their children to those who were able to go further. For the surviving children, Krystyna Skwarko opened an orphanage in Isfahan.

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One of the deceased is certainly a Jew, Naftali Roth, pharmacist. Many of the deported Poles were Jews, many of who also made it to Iran as well. The local Jewish relief organizations supported them, they received their orphans, and later let them go to Israel.

The relatives of some deceased in the far away Lahistan still take care of the tomb of their kin. Instead of the concrete headstone of Stanisław Puć, his brother erected an ornate black marble gravestone. The original concrete block is left lying behind the grave.

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We come out of the cemetery around nine o’clock. The bakeries and tea houses have just started to open on the other side of the road. They amiably ask us where we are from, they offer us free tea and freshly baked bread. Just as they did to the Polish refugees seventy years ago.