1 Execution site(s)
Zofia M., born in 1924: “I’ve been living in Strzegocice my whole life. My father was a shoemaker. I remember going to nearby Pilzno to buy leather for him from Jewish merchants. There were also a few Jewish families living in Strzegocice before the war. I remember a small boy named Icek. He would come to play dominos with me. He was very fierce, he always wanted to win. He was a very bad loser and would always get mad. I remember another Jewish family from the village. There were five of them in the house. A boy from this family, Herszko, was in my class. During religion class, he would leave the classroom. I remember the Mendel family as well. Mr. Mendel was the owner of the local inn and the local shop. His inn was very big. When merchants would come here with their goods, they would always spend the night there to get some rest. Sura was Mr. Mendel’s daughter. The day she got married, a rabbi came to Strzegocice to celebrate the marriage. Many people gathered to watch the ceremony; we were all curious to see a Jewish wedding.”(Witness N°1186P, interviewed in Strzegocice, on November 25, 2020)
“On July 18, 1942, the German military police shot 14 Jews from Jasło in Podworski Park. Their bodies were buried at the site of the execution. Their grave remains unmarked." [Register of places and facts of crimes committed by the Nazi occupiers in Poland in 1939-1945. Tarnowskie Voivodeship, comp. Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland, Warsaw 1984, pp. 36, 181]
Strzegocice is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Pilzno, in Dębica County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in south-eastern Poland. It lies approximately 5 km south-east of Pilzno and 51 km west of the regional capital, Rzeszów. According to a witness interviewed by Yahad - In Unum, Józef F., born in 1931, there were two Jewish families living in Strzegocice before the war, both were farmers. However, an important Jewish community lived in nearby Pilzno: at the turn of the century, it numbered about 700 people, mainly merchants and artisans, who proposed their services to the inhabitants of neighboring towns and villages. The synagogue was in Pilzno, Jews from Strzegocice would go there to celebrate some of their holidays. However, according to Yahad - In Unum witnesses, local Jews would also gather to pray in Strzegocice, in a wooden outhouse built next to the local inn that belonged to a Jewish man called Mendel. Sometimes, the rabbi from Pilzno would come to Strzegocice. Jewish and non-Jewish children would go to the same local school; however, Jewish children would leave the classroom during catholic religion class.
Little is known about the fate of the Jewish community from Strzegocice. Thanks to the witnesses interviewed by Yahad - In Unum’s team in November 2020, we know that the young Jews were deported by the Germans to unknown locations, while elderly people and children tended to hide to avoid deportation or the imminent death. Most of the Jews in hiding were eventually caught and shot in different locations by the Germans during the Judenaktion. On the July 18, 1942, an execution of 14 Jews took place in a park that belonged to a local manor. According to available information and witnesses’ testimonies, 14 Jewish men were brought to Strzegocice that day in a truck from the direction of Jasło. The truck stopped near the park, on the Jasło-Pilzno road. The Jews were ordered to jump off the truck and led to the execution site on foot. They were shot with a bullet in the back of the head by the German military police from Jasło. Unfortunately, the Yahad team didn’t manage to interview any eyewitness to this mass execution. According to available information, the Jews killed that day in Strzegocice were originally from Brzostek, the last rabbi of Brzostek, Haim Wolkenfeld was among 14 victims.
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