1 Execution site(s)
Andrzej S., born in 1931, recalls: “Y.U.: Was there a synagogue here in Jędrzejów before the war?
Witness: I don’t know. I know they prayed here by the river. I remember they wore something [on head], I don’t know what it was. Maybe their Torah. They also banded themselves with strips (teffilin). This is what I remember, what I can recall from my childhood memories. They prayed here, by the river. For Easter, they had their own holiday which they called “kucki” – on the yard, by the window there was a hut and there was a roof made of branches, I think willow branches. They would give them food through this window from the kitchen and they were praying and celebrating there. Yes, that was their holiday. I remember like it was today. This Jewish girl Salka would steal some matza bread for me because we were friends. She would give me this matza.
Yahad – In Unum: You said they were praying by the river. Did they pray outside or did they use a building?
Witness: Outside. By the river, on the shore.” (Testimony n°551, interviewed in Jędrzejów, on April 1st, 2016)
[Court Inquiries about executions and mass graves in districts, provinces, camps and ghettos-Ankieta Sadow Grodzkich; USHMM; RG-15.019 Reel #2, Part 1]
Jędrzejów is a town located in Swietokrzyskie voivodeship. It lies 38 kilometers south from Kielce and 78 kilometers north from the capital of the region – Krakow. Jews started to settle down in Jędrzejów after 1862, as before they couldn’t legally settle in many other towns in the Kingdom of Poland. The Jewish community established in 1875 gave a birth to the synagogue, house of prayer and Jewish cemetery in town. Throughout the second part of the XIX century, the Jewish families from Jędrzejów ran small shops and craft workshops. It was an attractive city for the Jews, therefore at the end of the XIX century migrations from nearby towns and villages to Jędrzejów had begun. The town was thus an important place and center for trade, administration and business in the region. By 1920s Jews constituted 44 % of the city’s population and at the brink of the war, in 1939, there were 4,000 Jews residing in the town. There was also a Jewish school in the town. There was a large socioeconomic gap within the Jewish community of the city: some were running a successful business and occupying important positions in the administrative bodies and the others were living under the poverty level.
The German soldiers appeared in Jędrzejów in September 1939. The ghetto was set up in the central part of the town, on the few major streets in February 1940. Jews were persecuted and random shootings on the street happened. The ghetto was guarded. In 1941, on the 15th and 16th of January the Germans deported 105 families, overall 600 Jews, to nearby cities. Starting in January 1941, the Jews from Jędrzejów were forced to work: 400 to 600 Jews were tasked to clear the snow, others were ordered to load wood and 220 young men were sent to a labor camp in Lviv (todays Ukraine). In June 1941 the conditions in the ghetto became more strict – curfew was established and a combat against smuggling began. Instructions to tighten the guard in ghetto were given in October 1941, Jews were shot when trying to leave a ghetto without a permit. Random shootings happened in the ghetto. In March 1942 the ghetto was enclosed with a barbed wire. From that moment all the Jewish families had to live inside of the ghetto. In August 1942 Jews from nearby towns and villages (including Sobkow, Malogoszcz, Brzegi, Wegleszyn, Oksa, Naglowice, Przaslaw, Mierzwin, Nawarzyce, Rakow) were resettled to Jędrzejów totaling 2,200. The liquidation of the ghetto took place on the 16th of September 1942. The selection process took place on the market square: only 240 Jews, most of whom were specialists, were sent back to the ghetto and the rest was sent to the extermination camp in Treblinka. Between February 22nd and 24th the ghetto was closed: 200 Jews were transported to a camp in Skarzysko-Kamienna and 35 were killed in Jędrzejów. The corpses of the victims of the random shootings were transported to the Jewish cemetery.
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