1 Execution site(s)
Roman D., born in 1932: “I remember the liquidation of the ghetto since I was in the street which led straight out of the Rynek – next to the ghetto – to the stadium next to the station where the Jews were taken by the Germans. Beforehand the Jews were rounded up at the stadium. I saw one scene which struck me despite my young age. An old orthodox Jew struggled while walking. He hardly managed to move his feet. He was older than I am right now. Other Jews helped him walking but they were all surrounded by German soldiers and Granatowa police. He fell down once. Then a second time. He fell down the last time and didn’t have energy to get up. He was shot dead on the spot by a German. His body was loaded on a truck passing by which left in the direction of the cemetery. I still see the image in my head of these Jews walking. I remember the expression they had on their faces. They did not cry, they did not complain, they did not say anything. They walked calmly. The silence was oppressive. Even this old man did not make a sound when he was shot. Not a sound”. (Eyewitness n°787, interviewed in Nowy Targ on March, 17th 2018)
“Questionnaire about the mass executions and mass graves.
1. Date and place of execution: from March 1942 to August 30,1942 on the Jewish cemetery in Nowy Targ.
2. Kind of execution/ shooting, hanging, other: shooting.
3. Data concerning executed victims: Poles, Jews, foreigner: Jews and Poles Number of executed people: about 1,500 people altogether Where do the victims come from: From Nowy Targ and its surroundings.
4. Do we know what the victims were accused of? Or was the execution an order of retaliation? Or other? Racial persecution. Motives are unknown concerning Poles.
5. Who conducted the execution? Were they police officers, Gestapo, SS or Wehrmacht? Police officers, Gestapo and Sonderdienst.
6. Are the perpetrators’ names known? Give the names: [Note: The names are available in the original archives]. [IPNKrakowReport 1/11619/DVD/1 Statement of Tomasz Magierski aged 44, burgermeister of Nowy Targ, on 27/09/1945, concerning the executions of about 1,5000 Jews and Poles in the town of Nowy Targ in 1942. ]
Nowy Targ, located in the mountains of Tatra, is located 89 km south of Krakow. There is no exact information when the first Jews settled down in Nowy Targ. According to different information they would have arrived in the middle of 17th century. At the end of the 18th century, Nowy Targ, like all western Galicia, was incorporated into the Austro-Hungarian empire. From the very beginning the Jewish community wasn’t big, but it grew significantly by the end of the 19th century after the annulation of the law that forbade Jews to live in the Tatra region. In 1884 there were 464 Jews, and by 1890 the community grew up to 773 members. In 1900 they were 900 making about 15% of the total population. The majority of Jews were merchants and peddlers. As it was a touristic place many Jews were involved in tourist business. According to the census in 1921, 1342 Jews lived in the town. The Jewish community had several synagogues, Jewish cemetery and educational institutions, such as Talmud Tora school and a Hebrew heder school. After the WWI different Zionist movements were organised. On the eve of WWII, 3,000 Jews out of 13,000 residents lived in Nowy Targ.
On September 1st 1939, German soldiers from Czechoslovakia occupied Nowy Targ. On the following day 12 Jewish community leaders were arrested and send to the camp in Germany. Shortly after the occupation the anti-Jewish measures were implemented. The Jewish business were either liquidated or taken over by the ethnic Germans. All the Jews were marked with the Star of David. Those fit to work were forced to perform public works, like repairing the roads. Starting from May 1941 an opened ghetto was created, although the first decisions about the ghettoization were taken in February 1940. In summer 1941 about 2,000 inmates from Nowy Targ and surrounding villages, including Szczawnica, Krosicenko, Czarny Dunajec and Rabka, were confined into the ghetto. From the fall 1941, the access to the ghetto was restricted and the Jews were forbidden to leave its territory. Those who were caught outside the ghetto were shot dead on the spot. According to the Polish archives, on June 8, 1942, several Jewish workers from the feather plucking plant were arrested and shot at the Jewish cemetery. The ghetto was liquidated on August 30, 1942. On the eve all the Jews were announced to assemble in the Pilsudski sport stadium under the pretext of being displaced for forced labour. On the day of the deportation, all the Jews were forced to hand over their valuables. After the selection, the majority of them were taken by truck toward the railway station, from where they were deported to Belzec extermination camp along with the Jews brought from Jordanow. The elderly and sick people, as well as the members of the Judenrat were taken and shot at the Jewish cemetery. Those Jews who attempted to escape or were found in hiding were shot dead on the spot. In all 1,500 Jews were murdered at the Jewish cemetery, including those who were found in hiding during the following months of the liquidation. The aktions were conducted by SS unit accompanied by German and local police. The skilled and craftsmen who were selected as well were spared and confined into newly created labor camp named “Hobag”. The camp was liquidated on May 25, 1944.
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