1 Execution site(s)
Leon G., born in 1935: “Four or five Jewish families lived in Tęczki, including one who lived at the end of the street. The Jews were mainly shopkeepers. Catholics and Jews lived peacefully together. Me and my mother shopped in Jewish stores. Jewish families had many children, and they all went to school in nearby Krzeszow. When the German occupation started, the Jews were treated very badly by the occupiers. One day, the Germans came to Tęczki and shot all the Jews in the pits where the potatoes were stored. They arrived in the middle of the day. I saw the execution from my property and also saw the Germans on horseback rounding up the Jews. The Jews were constantly being taken to the pits. Men, women and children. I believe that Jews from other places were also brought there. I heard a lot of gunfire that day.” (Witness N°977P, interviewed in Tęczki, on March 20, 2019)
"13.09.1942: 35 Jews (20 men, 10 women, 5 children) shot by the gendarmerie. Bodies buried on site, then in Łuków cemetery." [Register of places and facts of crimes committed by the Nazi occupant on Polish lands in 1939-1945 (Siedlce province)/(Rejestr miejsc i faktow zbrodni popelnionych przez okupanta hitlerowskiego na ziemiach polskich w latach 1939-1945 (woj. Siedleckie)]
Tęczki is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Zbuczyn, Siedlce County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It lies approximately 14 km (9 mi) southeast of Zbuczyn, 28 km (17 mi) southeast of Siedlce, and 113 km (70 mi) east of Warsaw. Little is known about the pre-war community in the village. Archival sources do not give us much information about the lives of the Tęczki Jews, or about their fate during the Holocaust. Everything that we have been able to establish on this subject comes from interviews conducted by a Yahad team in the village in March 2019. According to Yahad witnesses Leon G., born in 1935, and Alfred Ś., born in 1933, 4-5 Jewish families lived in Tęczki. They were mainly merchants and shopkeepers. There was no synagogue or Jewish cemetery in the village. We can assume that the Jewish community from Tęczki would use those located in Międzyrzec Podlaski, located about 17 km to the north. Before the war an important Jewish community resided in the city. During the interwar period, the Jewish population in in Międzyrzec Podlaski continued to be the largest ethnic-religious group in the city (circa. 65% of the population). As many as 180 of the 201 houses in the city belonged to Jewish owners.
Little is known about the course of the German occupation of Tęczki. Thanks to interviews conducted by the Yahad team, it was possible to establish that Jewish residents of the village were allowed to live in their homes until September 1942, despite the fact that a ghetto had already been established in the nearby city of Międzyrzec Podlaski. The residents of Tęczki were not transported to the ghetto, but were shot on the spot. On September 13, 1942, German arrived in two or three trucks and surrounded the entire village. The gendarmes rounded up the Jews and brought them to the execution site, a silo that was used to store potatoes. It is not entirely clear exactly how many people were murdered that day. The archives speak of a group of 35 Jews, according to Yahad’s witnesses there may have been as many as 60, and they may not only have come from Tęczki, but also from nearby villages such as Grochówka and Maciejowice. According to Alfred S., born in 1933, an eyewitness to the execution, after all the Jews had been gathered and taken to the execution site, they were led to the pit in groups of several people. The Germans then ordered them to lie down over the pit so that their heads were lowered over it. A German with a rifle stood above each victim, before firing a shot into the back of the victim’s head on the order of an officer. Group by group, the German gendarmes shot between 35 and 60 Jews in this manner, including men, women and children. The victims were buried at the site of the executions, but thanks to archival information it was possible to establish that after the war the bodies were exhumed and reburied in the Jewish cemetery in Łuków, located about 23 km from Tęczki. Today there is a sports field at the site of the executions and no memorial commemorating the victims.
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