1 Execution site(s)
Jan S., born in 1922, recalls: “We had already been waiting for a moment when we heard engine noises. We saw two trucks coming to the Buczyna forest. They stopped right next to it. One of these trucks was full of dead bodies and in the second one, there were Jews who were still alive. The Germans ordered the boys from Baudienst to get into the first truck and push off all the dead bodies. They fell on the ground like pancakes. Then, we had to grab their legs, drag them to the pit and throw them inside. I grabbed one leg, my friend grabbed another and we pulled. If the victims were well dressed, we had to undress them before throwing them into the pit and put their clothes nearby, in a pile. Then, they lashed out at the Jews from the second truck. They arranged them in pairs in one, long column. There were three Germans on every side of the column leading them to the pit.” (Eyewitness N°222, interviewed in Zbylitowska Góra, on September 11, 2013)
Court inquiries about executions and mass graves
1. Date and place of execution: 1942 and 1943, Zbylitowska Gora, Buczyna forest;
2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting;
3. Personal data of the executed victims
Polish, Jews, other nationalities: Jews and Poles;
Number of executed victims: about 6000 Jews, 2000 Poles
Origin of the victims: Tarnow
[Deposition of Stanislaw Z., a Vogt of Guminska village; IPN, Kr 1/11625/DVD/]
Zbylitowska Gora is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Tarnów, within Tarnów County, Lesser Poland Voivodeship. It lies in southern Poland, about 71 km from Kraków. Before World War II, there were about 25,000 Jews living in Tarnów. A main part of Jewish commerce in Tarnów was devoted to garment and hat manufacturing. World War II left a bloody trace in the history of the village of Zbylitowska Gora because of the Nazis who transformed the small Buczyna woods into a site of martyrdom.
Right before World War II, 45% of Tarnow’s population was Jewish. During World War II, the town lost a large part of its population. In February 1942, the Germans created a ghetto in Tarnów.
On June 11-18, 1942 around 3,500 Jews from the ghetto were sent to the Belzec extermination camp and another 3,000 Jews were shot at the local Jewish cemetery. Around 6,000 other Jews, mainly the sick, the elderly and children were shot at Zbylitowska Gora, in the Buczyna forest. In the Buczyna woods, the members of the local Baudienst had to dig very deep, large pits. The Jews, as well as the bodies of Jews, were brought there in trucks. The trucks stopped at the end of the road, at the edge of the forest. Men from the Baudienst had to unload the trucks, and drag the dead bodies by their arms and legs for about 40 meters to the forest to throw them into the pits. The Jews who were still alive had to walk to the pits in pairs, in a long column. They had to stand at the edge of the pit where they were killed by a shot in the back of the head. There were men, women and children among approximately 6,000 Jewish victims murdered in the Buczyna woods. The pits were covered by the members of the Baudienst. Following these operations, the ghetto was considerably reduced in size.
On September 2-3, 1943, about 8,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz and about 3,000 to Plaszow. It was the final action of the ghetto liquidation.
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