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Poland Marks 60th Anniversary of Anti-Jewish Pogrom

Poland is holding a solemn ceremony Tuesday to mark the 60th anniversary of the worst anti-Jewish pogrom to occur in Europe after World War II.

The ceremony recalls the massacre of 37 Jewish Holocaust survivors in the town of Kielce, in southern Poland, on July 4, 1946. The massacre was carried out by local townspeople, police and soldiers, provoked by a false rumor that a Jewish family had abducted a Christian child.

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, will lead Hebrew prayers to remember the victims at Kielce's Jewish cemetery. Sirens will sound during the ceremony, which senior Polish government officials are planning to attend.

During the three months after the Kielce pogrom, at least 60,000 Jews fled Poland, believing the country was no longer safe for them.

Historians say between 600 and 1,500 Jews were killed in Poland in anti-Semitic attacks after the Second World War. Some Poles acted out of fear that Jews who survived the Holocaust would return to reclaim their homes and possessions in Poland. Anti-Semitism also was fueled by false rumors that Jews murdered Polish children.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.