Today we went to the town of Tykocin where the Nazis came and rounded up about 2,000 Jewish citizens on the market square to be resettled to a ghetto in Czerwony Bór. Sadly, this was not the case; people were soon taken from the square to a killing site in the nearby Łopuchowo forest. Local farmers were made to dig mass graves before the Jewish people arrived. After the men marched on foot, and while the women, children, and elderly were trucked in, they were all executed in waves into the mass burial pits. After the killings, the farmers were to bury them. However, before the mass excecution, the Nazis encouraged the local Poles from Tykocin and the surrounding villages to loot Jewish properties. Some Poles cooperated while some did not. Some participated in the killings and/or beatings of their Jewish neighbors; traditionally dressed Jews were especially targeted.
After visiting the town of Tykocin, we went to see the Jedwabne pogrom marker. In July of 1941, around 340 Polish Jews including men, women, and children were murdered; 300 hundred of whom were locked in a barn that was set on fire. The marker is located at the site of the barn and in front, there is a Jewish cemetery. At least 40 Polish citizens were involved as well as the German Nazi police force.
I did not know any of this information before coming to these sites. I had no idea that many Jewish people were killed in these small towns. It opened my eyes to the widespread anti-semitism , even in small villages.