WATCH MOVING LEVAYA: “Jewish Bishop Of Yafo” Is Buried In Poland Next To Mass Grave


A tragic Holocaust story came to came to an end on Wednesday afternoon when a Jewish child Holocaust survivor who converted to Christianity was brought to kever Yisrael next to his martyred relatives in Poland who are buried in a mass kever.

Yaakov Tzvi (Hirsch) Griner, z’l, also known during his lifetime as Gregor (Grzegorz) Pawlowski, the Jewish bishop of Yafo, passed away last week and was buried on Wednesday in the Polish town of Izbica, where his mother, sisters and other Jews were cruelly murdered during the Holocaust.

Many priests from the church in Yafo and local Polish priests came to the levaya and the beginning of the levaya was heavily dominated by their presence. But Jews who traveled from Israel for the levaya and members of the Jewish community in Poland also attended and took over the levaya at the end, ensuring that it was in accordance with Jewish tradition and halacha.

Rav Shlomo Fischer and Rav Avraham Pines, who attended the levaya, told B’Chadrei Chareidim that it was extremely sad to see the clergy being part of the levaya but ultimately, the Jews took control and it was transformed into a full Jewish levaya.

One of the niftar’s relatives, Chaim Plezner, brought earth from Yerushalayim so that the niftar could be buried with the earth of Eretz Yisrael.

Reb Shalom Malul, the head of the Amit High School in Ashdod, who traveled from Israel especially for the levaya together with six of his students, played Ani Maamin on his trumpet as the niftar was being buried.

Meir Bulka, the head of an organization for the preservation of Jewish heritage of Poland, told B’Chadrei: “It was one of the most moving events I’ve been at in all my years of working in Poland. I didn’t know the niftar but as a descendant of Poles, I felt an ethical obligation to come to the levaya and fulfill the niftar’s wish to be buried like a Jew, next to his family.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. im not sure which is sadder, the cristan clergy or the jews singing jewish songs with Zions idols around them like capes. The guy was a Cristian priest, that makes sence. But he had no shaychus to zionism……

    The main thing here is that between the crosses and Israeli idols, they were at least a few of his Jewish brethren there to bury him as a jew.

  2. It sounds like he chose to die as a Jew although he didn’t live as a Jew. Good human interest story but why would he merit a Jewish funeral?

  3. Fech. He was a meshumed. It was a bracha lvatala, saying Hashem’s name in vain. He can’t be buried near Jews. He doesn’t even have a Jewish casket.

  4. very sick, he was still a jew–not deserving this reckless behavior but a jew is always a jew, we can not convert away from Hashem….at least one element of evil was rectified…..

  5. Its a very unfortunate yet peculiar story. Wad a shaila asked how to handle this funeral?
    On one hand you can say he was a tinuk shenishba an outcome of the Holocaust.
    On the other hand with frum relatives and his exposure to yiddishkeit in Israel, it would seem he has opportunities to reclaim his yiddisher heritage but didn’t……tzoruch iyan. Sad!

  6. Was he hidden in a monastery as a child? In any case he was a child holocaust survivor. I think he was a tinok shenishbah, not a meshumad.

  7. Wow. I am apalled at these comments. Why do ppl always need to comment negatively? He was a child holocaust survivor. 8 yr old who ran for his life. Sad that we the jewish world couldnt get him back. But he constantly said he didnt run away from hashem he just ran away to save his life. How many more than 6 million we have lost! But he did ask for jewish burial-right nr the monument commemorating his familys death. What a very sad story. How very sad for us that instead of crying at this sad mixed up levaya we stoop to criticize.

  8. UjM – He was put in a Monastery as a kid. perhaps he’s a Tinok Shenisbeh?! befoer you fech anyone, double check the Dinim in this case.

  9. UJM maybe one day you will be zoche to have your whole family killed by Nazis and we’ll be able to see how you react. How dare you judge somebody else when you have no idea what he went through. I give you a bracha that hashem should be Dan you lekav zechus the same way you judged Yaakov tzvi.

  10. Those who are blaming and condemning him might not be aware that he was about 8 years old during the war when his family was killed and buried in a mass grave. He was on his own in the midst of the war when the x-ians took him in and raised him. He was raised either by priests or monks or nuns. How then is it his fault that he became a x-ian? It isn’t his fault, it is the fault of the Nazis ym”sh who created this disaster.

    A child of 8 is practically a baby, free of blame. Yet many of you here clearly feel free to judge and condemn. Shame on you. What happened to him was a tragedy that was not his fault. Are we now getting to a point where we judge orphaned children Holocaust survivors for how they were raised through no fault of their own?

  11. “Z’l” ?!?! He was a GALACH!! And not just an ordinary one, but a BISHOP!! He has served avaide zohreh all his life, till the end, countless times. He let other people of Jewish descent do it too, and died without doing teshuvah. Jemach shmoi!

  12. What’s saddest is that this man’s fate symbolizes the tragedy that befell the Jews of Poland within his lifespan. Such an ancient and vibrant community almost completelt wiped out with only meshumadim and their descendants remaining. I was born and raised there myself and such cases are dime a dozen, only most aren’t priests. 6 members of my own family there are halachically Jewish but are either atheists or Catholics, with no Jewish knowledge or involvement whatsoever. During the war many Jewish children were given over to gentiles for their lives to be saved. They were promptly baptized and raised as Christians. How can they be blamed for not knowing any better? Also some Jews abandoned Judaism because they “went mad from what their eyes had seen” and they did not want to be Jews anymore. I am not sure about the halachos relevant in his case/burial but it such a stupefying tragedy because he died a gallach and therefore childless. And so the destruction of that family is now complete :-/

  13. Oy… some of the comments here are just so sad… they make my heart cry… Yidden are ביישנים, רחמנים וגומלי חסדים. Perhaps the commentators here lacking those qualities are not really part of our community and just here to stir up trouble.