WARSAW, Poland -- The Polish government is reconsidering whether to exhume human remains at a World War II-era site where Jews were burned alive by Polish neighbors, though the country's chief rabbi says the work would violate Judaism's prohibition on disinterment under most circumstances.
Authorities will weigh "various circumstances" in deciding if exhumations should go forward in the town of Jedwabne, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told private broadcaster Polsat News.
During the German Nazi occupation of Poland, Poles killed at least 340 Jews on July 10, 1941. Most of the victims were locked inside a barn that was set on fire.
Some Poles want the massacre site excavated to uncover possible evidence that Germans ordered Polish villagers to do the killings. The work was started in 2001 and stopped by the justice minister after several days due to Jewish objections.
Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich said exhuming the place where the barn stood "would desecrate the memory of those who were buried there."
"It makes moral sense that we should follow the religious traditions of those who were buried there," Schudrich told The Associated Press. "Jewish law hasn't changed in 2,000 years, and what we said in 2001 remains the same now."