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Poland: Poles Played Decisive Role In 1941 Jewish Massacre

Bialystok, 9 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Prosecutors in Poland said today that local men, not Nazi soldiers, played a decisive role in a World War II pogrom in the northwestern Polish village of Jedwabne. War crimes prosecutor Radoslaw Ignatiew said an investigation into the events in Jedwabne proved that a group of some 40 Polish men rounded up Jews on 10 July 1941 and marched them into a barn, then burned it down.

Ignatiew said while there was no clear evidence German soldiers at the scene played an active role, "we can say that the crime at Jedwabne was committed with German inspiration."

Ignatiew said prosecutors would drop the case as 12 men were already found guilty of the killings by a communist court in 1949.

The investigation started after emigre Polish author Jan Gross published a book about the events in 2000.