• Leaders of Dialogue

    A Community of Changemakers

News 2019

“People, Not Numbers” is a unique project of Dariusz Popiela, a Leader of Dialogue, dedicated to the restoration of memory of Jews who lived in his home region. November 3, 2019 saw the unveiling of the monument commemorating 1,700 Jewish citizens of Grybów and surrounding areas who were first placed in the Grybów ghetto and then murdered in the Bełżec death camp. In line with the name of the project, the name of each person is engraved on the monument placed in the Grybów Jewish cemetery renovated by a team lead by Dariusz. The task of identifying all the names to be listed on the monument required incredible dedication and hours spent in archives following tenous leads that could help identify those who perished. Aware that commemoration is just one step in the process of bringing back memory, Dariusz’s team plans to prepare educational materials for history and Polish literature classes to be used in local schools. This will help share knowledge about not just the tragic death, but more importantly the vibrant Jewish life that existed in the area before the war. Involving local schools is also meant to inspire them to take on the responsibility for the memory and for the cemetery.

“My purpose in this project is to strive toward mutual respect and understanding, toward a reconciliation. For a long time, these words had seemed empty slogans to me. I had no idea that one day I will organize the ceremony that will turn those words into real actions,” said Dariusz Popiela about the aims of his project. He was really taken by the way people reacted to it: “We were united, we were together. People gathered at the monument regardless of their beliefs or creed, locals as well as guests, rabbis, descendants of local Jews, representatives of the authorities, politicians, priests, the young and the old. In the center of it all stood the monument and the plaques honoring the of 1,774 victims of the Holocaust.”

photo: J.Szkarłat


Project co-financed by the Ledor Wador Foundation.