1 Execution site(s)
Ryszard W., born in 1933, recalls: “The camp was located just behind my house. The fence was about 10m away from my house. At the beginning, in 1941 or 1942, 7,000 Soviets soldiers died there due to hunger and diseases. They are buried 2km away from here. Then, once there were no more prisoners of war, the Jews were brought to this camp. At the beginning, it wasn’t a camp but a factory which belonged to Mr. Plater.” (Witness n°1033, interviewed in Bliżyn on May 30th, 2019).
1/ Name of the camp: Arbeitlager
2/ Location of the camp: Blizyn, /factory of charcoal/
3/ Seize of the camp: 10 hectars
4/ Creation date of the camp: March, 8th 1943
5/ Liquidation date of the camp: July 1944
6/ Were there only Poles, Jews or both in the camp: Poles and Jews
8/ How many people were confined there? Between 1,000 and 5,000
9/ How many people passed through the camp during its existence? 12,000
10/ What happened with the prisoners during the liquidation of the camp? Poles were freed, Jews were sent to Czestochowa. [Questionnaire on camps n°60 (Miejscowosc: Blizyn; Gmina: Blizyn; Powiat: Kielecki; Wojewodztwo: Kieleckie); RG-15.019M]
Bliżyn is located 45km north-east of Kielce. The Jewish community of Bliżyn was rather small. In 1921 there were only 47 Jews registered in the town. A few hundred more Jews lived in the surrounding villages. According to Ryszard W., born in 1933, shops from Bliżyn were mainly owned by Jews. Other Jews lived off crafts. There were no synagogues, nor a Jewish cemetery in the town. According to the local witnesses, the Jewish children went to school together with the non-Jews.
Bliżyn was occupied by Germans on September 3rd, 1939. According to historical sources, in February 1941 there were 375 Jews. However, the Jewish population continued to increase over time with the arrival of Jewish refugees from Lodz, Plock, and other surrounding villages. After a while, due to its close location to the railroads, Bliżyn was transformed into a transit ghetto. At the same time, there was a camp for the Soviet prisoners of which numbered from 5,000 to 7,000 inmates according to different sources. In August 1942, about 600 Jewish inmates from the ghetto were displaced to Suchedniow. From there they were deported to the Treblinka death camp on September 22, 1942, along with some 3,500 Jews who remained in Suchedniow.
On March 8, 1943, a labor camp was created in Bliżyn at the dye factory. The camp numbered from 5,000 to 6,000 inmates, both male and female, Jews and non-Jews. There were no children. The camp was fenced in with barbed wire, and there was a watchtower. In February 1944, it became a sub camp of the Majdanek death camp. All the Jews were subjected to perform forced labor, such as tailoring the clothes for the German army. They had to work for Deutsche Ausrüstungswerke. According to the local witness interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were also subjected to different kinds of humiliation and torture . According to testimony of Józef Detko, given after the liberation in front of the District Commission for the Investigation of Nazi War Crimes in Kielce, a small number of Jews were killed 50m outside the camp almost every day. The remaining inmates were deported to Auschwitz in February 1944.
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