1 Execution site(s)
Wladyslawa Z., born in 1928: ““When the trucks arrived at the pit, they made the Jews get out gradually, two or three persons at a time. If someone was injured, they hit him or killed him on the road and they dragged his body to the pit. It’s indescribable. I try to tell you this as if it was a fairytale but even today I get very emotional when I talk about it. (…)” (Eyewitness N°196, interviewed in Stróżowka, on September 02, 2013)
Before World War II, Stróżowka was a small village with about 300 houses. There were Poles and Jews living there. The Jews were mainly traders and shop owners, but some of them were farmers. Polish and Jewish children went to school altogether. The nearest synagogue was 2-3km away from the village, in Gorlice, the seat of gmina Gorlice. The Jews from Gorlice sold mainly wine, cereals and tobacco. They also had sawmills. During the second half of the 19th century the number of Jews in gmina Gorlice increased considerably. It was the result of the dynamic development and industrialization of the region.
At the beginning of 1940, the Germans created a ghetto in Bobowa town, one of the most important places for the development of the Chasidic culture in Poland. In October 1941, the ghetto was established also in the nearby town, Gorlice. Jews from Gorlice and neighboring villages were gathered there. Deportations to the Bełżec death camp and mass executions started in the spring of 1942. On August 14, 1942, several trucks filled with Jews arrived in Stróżówka from the Gorlice and Bobowa ghettos. All these Jews, about 700 old and sick people, were shot on the so-called presbytery square and in the Garbacz forest near Stróżówka. According to Władysława Z., born in 1928, the Germans were waiting near the cemetery for all the trucks to arrive. The Jews from Gorlice were already shortlisted. The selection of others took place near the road. Elderly people were put aside. Young people were still useful. The Jews were led to the pit by young Polish men from Baudienst whom the Nazis forced to drink alcohol and help them during the execution process.
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