Circumstances of the Jews of Bedzin during the German occupation
Name of deponent: Sandzer (Sander), Jakub
Birthdate: 22 November 1889
Citizenship: Polish (Bedzin)
Father: Natan Szanzer
Mother: Kejla, born Rosenberg
Pre-war residence: ul. Kollataja 21, Bedzin
Present residence (1945): ul. Kollataja 19, Bedzin
The Germans entered Bedzin on Monday, the 4th of September
1939 between 4 and 6 o'clock in the afternoon. They came
from the direction of the rail station on motorcycles, tanks
and armor-plated cars. Those on foot went along building
walls with rifles turned in the direction of the opposite
buildings. There was no firing; the army didn’t take long
With the coming of evening there was quiet. The German military
authorities installed themselves quickly in the Municipality
(town hall). There was quiet the next day also in the morning,
because the German authority wanted to give the city a normal
mood. As a result of instructions, some shops remained open,
but only a few since most of inhabitants had fled from the
city. Those who remained in the city now believed that the
storm passed, but unfortunately early in the afternoon of
Tuesday the Germans seized hostages.
On Tuesday in the afternoon the Germans took as hostages
the most prominent citizens of the city of Polish and Jewish
nationality, as well as sick persons of both religions These
persons were held the first night in the former Conference
Room of the Municipal Committee, under strong military guard
in state of emergency conditions. The next day we (22 persons)
were loaded on military vehicles, under strong military
escort, and were taken to the barracks where we were imprisoned.
The same day we were taken to the task of sweeping of trash
from the barracks yard. We were forced to transfer furniture
from one building to a second. We unloaded straw from wagons
and while we were at this work the Germans photographed
us. We were beaten, especially abused were the clergymen.
While we unloaded the mass of straw, the Germans ordered
Rabbi Lewin to take a single straw, literally one straw
and to carry it to the general pile. In this position, as
he carried the stalk of straw, the Germans took pictures.
Then a German brought a pair of scissors and handed it to
one Rabbi and ordered him to cut the beard of a second Rabbi.
This rabbi then had to return the deed in the same manner.
Of course, this all took place under their inspection. The
Catholic priests, after departure of the Germans, expressed
their compassion to the Rabbis.
The nights were terrible in those barracks. We slept on
the bare floor. Several times at night there came soldiers
with flashlights and counted each of us so as to be certain
that we are all present. With each inspection, they warned
us: If anything happens to any German in the town, all of
you will be shot.
There also occurred the following event: The wife of one
of the Rabbis who wore a very large blond wig went to the
present commander of the city named Heize, on whose instruction
we had been arrested. She asked him to release her husband
as he was ill. The Commandant asked her if she were Aryan:
"Sind sie eine Arien?" The lady didn’t understand the question
and answered "Yes". Thereupon he gave her a written note
in consequence of which the Rabbi was soon released.
Through all the week, until Friday we worked very hard.
We carried out very difficult work. Food wasn’t given us.
Once a day, the Germans permitted food to be brought to
us from our homes. On Friday afternoon, a military vehicle
took me and two others. We were taken outside the city,
to a place where were excavations from which clay was extracted
for a brickyard. We were placed close to these holes and
ordered to stand up straight, under no circumstance to turn
around. All this was under threat of execution. The streets
around were surrounded by SS-men.
After several minutes a large vehicle arrived from which
two Jews - bakers, Józef Katz and Szaja Slawski, bound with
handcuffs and one Christian, all three being residents of
the city of Bedzin. The Germans placed the three of them
at a distance from us of about 70 meters and facing us.
Then a platoon of German police marched up opposite the
men condemned to death. One of a group of German officers
read the judgment, from which we learned that Józef Katz
and Szaja Slawski were guilty of the alleged accusation
of raising the price about 1 grosz (penny) for a kg (2.2
Lbs) of bread and the Christian was accused of allegedly
stealing some light string.
They had been judged by a court-martial to a punishment
of death by firing squad. The condemned men stood completely
indifferently, listening calmly to the judgment. Simultaneously,
one from officers gave order "Feuer!" From the rifles of
the police, shots were fired, three shots to every man condemned
to death. The condemned men fell. An officer approached
them, who fired one shot into the head of each of the condemned,
after which all died. After this execution this group of
officers turned to us with the following speech: "As witnesses
of this evident, you are required to announce to all inhabitants
of the city that any one who commits the crime of raising
the price of articles or who takes for himself state properties,
this person will finish just have these they here", showing
by his paw, the dead men.
Following this, they put us in the vehicles and took to
the barracks. Letting in us to the cell where our fellow
prisoners waited, the German officers remained close to
the door, observing how we will now behave in the face of
our comrades of misery. I, from fear of the Germans, with
deep emotion, related what I had survived and repeated exactly
the warning given. The Germans then left, seemingly with
That night we heard the sound of shots. We were very frightened.
We were certain that, at any moment, the Germans would come
for us and would take us to execution. We didn’t sleep all
night. In the morning the guards came and told us that someone
had shot at the Germans from the main city synagogue. Because
of that, the Germans were forced to defend themselves and
accordingly, they had burnt the synagogue. They said, too,
that at the same time, there had been an enemy air raid,
allegedly by Polish planes. From these airplanes incendiary
bombs had been dropped on inhabited homes. As a result of
this raid, the entire Jewish district close to the market
place was burnt. (close to Old Market). They also told us
that, because of the good feelings they had toward the Jews,
they had risked their own lives and had saved Jewish women
and children. (they were lying very well). Of course, the
actual state of events was quite otherwise, about which
we learned later. In fact, events occurred in this way:
On the evening of Saturday 9 September 1939 when it was
dark, shots were heard, which lasted quite a long time.
There were revolver shots as well as machine-gun fire. Soldiers
began to prowl. On ul. Pilsudskiego, they entered houses
No. 11 and 13 and took 27 Jews, 3 persons from each family.
They led out these people in an unknown direction. The next
day, one of the people was found dead in the building opposite.
Concerning the remainder, it was later learned from eye-witnesses
that they had been shot in the garden "Staroscinski" and
were buried in a common grave in the Catholic cemetery.
On the same night, the synagogue on ul Bozniczna was set
afire. The entire ul. Plebanska had been set alight. Part
of ul Zamkowa, individual homes on ul. Koscielna, on Kollataja
from the side of the Old Market had been set afire.
The Germans set fire to the synagogue in this manner: they
first sprayed a certain kind of inflammable material. After
this, they went to every house on the above-mentioned streets
and fired into each building the same kind of explosive
material. People who were in the houses had to stay inside.
Whoever attempted to leave was immediately shot. The Germans
entered many of the houses taking out men, women and children
whom they drove, living, into the flames.
A city fire-brigade arrived, but the Germans didn't permit
any effort to extinguish the fire. If it weren't for a favorable
direction of the wind, the entire city would have burnt
down. One of eyewitnesses told how he and others used a
moment, when Germans had gone to a second street so as to
set fires there, to escape to a nearby church. There, a
priest had opened a door for them which led to Gora Zamkowa
(Castle Hill). The eyewitness added: "Some nuns hid
us in a nursery. There we remained through the whole night.
In the morning when we returned, we found only ashes where
our homes had been". On the second day, a German, referred
to by Jews as "Gauleiter", though in reality he was S.A.,
went around the ruins, looked them over and gave an order
so that subsequently trucks came on which Germans loaded
and removed various Jewish items of property. The name of
this German was Estelt (Erteld?). He was the terror of the
At this time, there fell victim a certain Jewish woman who
was merely watching the Germans remove Jewish property.
She was shot and killed by an infamous local policeman by
the name of Mitschke.
Estelt arrested Jews and forced them to perform the heaviest
tasks. He regularly beat them terribly. Another eyewitness
related how a Jewish woman rescued her husband from these
thugs: she carried him, wrapped in a sheet, on her back
in the same fashion as the Gypsies carry their children.
The German guards thought she carried bedding and, fortunately,
allowed her to pass. Another eyewitness testified that,
according to a completely authoritative person, just before
evening when the fire began, a Jewish man named Szapiro
about 44 years old, escaped from the fire. A German individual
named Jensen (who later was appointed general Trustee for
Jewish textile firms), with revolver in hand, thereupon
approached Szapiro. Seeing this, Szapiro fell to his knees
before Jensen, begging for his life. Jensen paid no heed
to the plea, but shot and killed the keeling, begging Szapiro.
This scene was later described by an eyewitness.
On Sunday after midnight and under strong escort, we were
taken by the Germans from the barracks to a prison where
all of us 22 hostages were placed in a small, filthy cell,
infested with vermin. We remained in this cell until the
end, ie. until we were freed about 10 days later, following
intervention on our behalf by a group called "the Provisional
Municipal Committee", consisting of Bedzin citizens (engineer
Weinscher , Rubinlicht, Szolc, attorney Szeniec) to the
Commander of the City. However, the Committee was required
to furnish the Germans other hostages in our stead. When
we returned to our homes, we found everyone in a terrible
state of mind. They were very much frightened of the Germans,
though an effort was made to continue our lives in a normal
manner. We were soon ordered by the Germans to reopen stores
and workshops. The Germans wished to resume normal movement
in the city.
It wasn't unusual for the soldiers in uniform, even higher
officers, to enter shops, make major purchases and then
pay a small percentages of actual value, demanding for that
payment a receipt stating thank you for the transaction,
but without having paid any sum of money. For example, I
relate the following incident: an officer purchased in our
store items with pre-war value of 800 zlotys, paid 15 Reichmarks
and requested a receipt which had to have the following
contents: "Den Betrag fur die gekaufte Ware dankend erhalte"
. ("Payment for the purchased items gratefully received").
I, and my wife, had to sign this receipt. In the second
half of September 1939, a civilian committee to provide
assistance to Jewish persons was created in Bedzin. Its
name was Jüdische Hilfkomitee ("Jewish Aid Committee").
This committee was formed spontaneously with permission
of the - then German Kommandant of the city to serve Jewish
citizens in severe need. There were now many victims of
the fire who were without means to live, without even a
roof over their heads. This is the reason that the project
supported by the above-mentioned committee came into existence
instead of, as before, by the religious Jewish Community.
In the meantime, there arrived in Bedzin a German mayor
named Kowohl, who immediately ceased cooperating with the
Jews connected with the the Provisional Municipal Committee.
He forbade any help to Jews, whether financial help, medical,
or concerning pensions. Nothing for Jews was to be paid
from municipal funds. He also authorized to be dismissed
from the Municipal Committee the following Jewish individuals:
engineers Gustav Weinziger and Lazar Rubinlicht. These two
were to organize a Bedzin representative Jewish Institution
called: "Jewish Interests Administration", which had to
take care of all Jewish matters in Bedzin. The two men,
in accordance with Kowohl's instructions, called together
Jewish citizens of Bedzin, who established the required
Committee. The president was engineer Weinziger. His deputy
was L. Rubinlicht.
This Committee began in difficult working conditions. However,
it was able to partially manage to control the situation,
in part because it levied upon the Jewish community of Bedzin
a compulsory "loan" for the purpose of funding a kitchen
for victims of the fire and for the poor among the Jewish
population. It also used this money for social welfare,
medical assistance and for immediate financial help for
impoverished Jews. The Committee then organized a collection
effort for fabrics, ready-made clothing, underwear, stockings,
socks, etc. Citizens and merchants responded with contributions
of large quantities of ready-to-wear items. Yardage material
was organized by the Committee to manufacture underwear
and clothing. The items were distributed to Jewish persons
financially ruined by German barbarity. German authorities
not only didn't help the Jews in these actions, to the contrary,
they made even normal work very difficult, requiring the
Jewish Committee to prepare, at its cost, a prison camp
on the grounds of the barracks and required this to be enclosed
several times with barbed wire, searchlights around, various
logistical requirements, etc. The Committee, under threat
of death as punishment and despite the fact that it itself
was in a very difficult financial situation had to fulfill
the Germans' instructions.
Shortly after these instructions had been complied with,
there arrived a communication addressed to the Committee
Chairman Ing. Weinziger from an unknown individual named
Moniek Merin of Sosnowiec. The letter declared that had
been authorized by the Gestapo to organize all Jewish communities
in the entire district of East Upper Silesia, including
all of Zaglebie Dabrowskie, and within it the City of Bedzin.
Merin thereupon demanded that control of the Jewish Committee
be placed in his hands. After a short meeting of the entire
Committee, a reply was sent advising that an answer would
be forthcoming in the next few days. The Committee then
took the position to temporize and not to surrender the
fate of the inhabitants of Bedzin into the hands of some
unknown person. After several days Merin again contacted
the Committee and demanded immediate meeting with the Committee
citing as a fact in the letter that he had been (allegedly)
authorized by the Gestapo to organize all the Jewish communities
in the above-mentioned area. Further, the letter contained
a threat to the Committee, that in case of disobedience
in the face of Merin's demand there would result for them
serious and sad consequences. The Committee, however, had
no confidence in this demand because Merin refused to give
anyone the letter merely reading its contents. In the face
of this, the Committee maintained its position abstaining
from a firm decision. Merin now understood the position
of the Bedzin Committee. Two days later, Merin returned
accompanied by Gestapo officers. A meeting was called of
the entire Committee to discuss Merin's demands. The Committee
officers were placed in the form of a semicircle in the
conference room of the Committee. The German officers, in
Merin's presence, declared should control of the management
of Jewish Community not be surrendered into the hands of
Merin: "da sind eure Kopfe unser" ("then your heads will
belong to us") and showing their meaning by placing their
riding-whips on the heads of the assembled members of the
After the Gestapo officers had left a meeting of the Committee
was held and Moniek Merin assumed control as General Manager
of all Zaglebie Jews. Several days later, there appeared
a large number of SS on the streets of our city together
with many vehicles. Their appearance caused a panic. The
Germans grabbed people who were merely walking on the street
and threw them into the vehicles. They captured several
hundred Jews in this manner. The victims were held in barracks
of the prison camp which we had been forced to erect. The
Germans beat the victims bloodily, forced them to perform
various strenuous exercises for hours non stop, paying no
heed to the age or state of health of these people. All
interventions on behalf of the victims produced negative
results. After two days Merin arrived and declared that
the prisoners would be released, but only after an enormous
sum in the form of a "contribution" were raised. The money
must be raised in the space of two days. In the event the
sum wasn't paid in this time-limit he couldn't guarantee
the safety of the prisoners. In the evening, he called a
meeting of the Committee, ostensibly with the aim of arranging
the contribution from the citizens of the city. Before discussion
of the matter , however, Merin ordered to be brought to
the meeting bottles of vodka, fish, cake, a dozen or so
geese and beer in casks. Preparations for such a party were
a necessary encouragement for the Committee to work, he
explained. Indeed, Merin maintained this system of parties
until the end of his authority. Some members of the Committee,
as a sign of protest, refused to participate in this drinking
bout, paid for by funds held in trust by the Committee,
out of regard for the tragic circumstances, when the fate
of their countrymen was so insecure, when the prisoners
held in the camp were so tormented.
After the party, word of the contribution was spread among
the Jewish citizens of the city with an immediate time-limit
for payment. After collecting the money, the persons arrested
were soon released, but in a most pitiful condition. Then
began a new era in the work of the Bedzin Committee. On
instruction of Merin, the leadership passed from Ing. Weinziher
to Jakub Ehrlich, a citizen of Bedzin who, until now had
been a member of the Committee. Two or three days later,
Merin summoned an urgent session in which he announced that,
by order of the Gestapo, all Jews living in the area of
East Upper Silesia were required to wear on their left arm
a white band with a blue star. This order, however, could
be suspended by payment of an enormous contribution to the
Gestapo. After a short discussion, the Committee unanimously
resolved that they will wear the armbands and not pay money
inasmuch there wasn't anyone left from whom to gather it.
Later in the afternoon of the same day, the Judenrat prepared
correct armbands and distributed them among the population.
On this very day, SS-men roamed the streets stopping Jews
who as yet hadn't had time to provide themselves with the
required armbands. The SS beat the victims and after keeping
them prisoner in the camp for several days, released them.
This all happened in November 1939. Soon after the armband
order, Merin again appeared and announced to the Committee,
that the SS had given orders to furnish a certain number
of Jews for deportation to work camps. In compliance with
this, the Judenrat formed a special Deportation Committee,
selected from some members of the Judenrat. The group immediately
proceeded to its task. The assignment for the Committee
was to look through the register of the Jewish population
of Bedzin and classify a part of these persons for deportation.
The Committee proceeded without any criteria, simply marking
people for deportation according to their own: "discretion".
Every person so designated received written notification
which stated that he must prepare for deportation. Each
person was allowed to take 30 kg of baggage and 10 marks.
The notifications evoked panic in the town. People were
terrified and began to besiege the Judenrat. Each person
sought to be released. Thereupon Merin again appeared and,
learning of the situation which had arisen in the city,
he ordered the Judenrat to create a Complaint Committee.
This group began to function immediately in the Judenrat's
office. Merin also instructed the Complaint Committee how
it is would be possible to secure the necessary number of
deportees. Specifically, those who didn't want to report
for deportation would be allowed to pay a sum determined
by the Complaint Committee in lieu of reporting. The Complaint
Committee would thereupon nominate other persons for deportation
in order to meet the quota set by the Gestapo. Most persons
did not want to be selected for deportation because of the
terror caused by reports of a previous deportation of Jewish
persons from Sosnowiec. All who could, paid the sum required
by the Committee. They willingly sold their belongings to
raise the sum, in order to save themselves from deportation.
Several days after the turmoil of the Deportation "Aktion"
had ended, posters were put up throughout the city, during
absence of the German mayor, announcing that, in accordance
with instructions from the Mayor, every Jewish person must
pay a so called "poglowne", a Kopfsteur , i.e. a "head tax"
in the sum of 10 marks. The time-limit for payment was in
the next few days following posting of the announcement.
The announcements emphasized that every Jewish person would
require a certificate showing payment of this sum. Failure
to possess such a certificate would involve serious consequences
for that individual. The Jewish population, in a body, paid
the required sum. Even new-born babies were required to
pay the 10 marks. At the end of this "Aktion", which brought
much money (about a quarter million marks), the mayor of
the city returned. When the mayor learned of this order
of the Germans, he called in representatives of the Committee
and expressed his indignation that something such as this
had occurred. This was, for him, a shameful deed. He noted
that such head tax payments were carried on in the Middle
Ages, but this was the 20th Century.
This statement by the mayor made it clear that the scheme
was an order from the (Kattowitz) Gestapo station and Merin.
At about the same time as the head-tax order was given by
the Gestapo through Merin and thence to the Judenrat, there
were Germans appointed to the city's administration who,
acting on their own, confiscated Jewish properties. One,
previously mentioned for his actions during the major fire
in the Jewish district was the so-called "Gauleiter" Erteld,
though actually he was manager of Ostgruppe, who went from
apartment to apartment and took everything. He stole right
and left. Following his example, other Germans did the same.
Erteld was so greedy, he even stole dirty underwear. When
the Commandant of the City Police learned of Erteld's actions
a scandal arose within the German administration. Erteld
was forbidden to go about in a party-uniform. After a time,
such Aktions ceased. However, because Germans who had come
to the occupied areas wanted to enrich themselves, a group
was created within the city's office, a so-called "Furniture
Committee" within the Housing Office. These persons performed
the same crimes as had Erteld. The only difference was that
it was possible to bribe these persons. If Jewish persons
gave them a great deal of money, they didn't take all the
furniture, only part. Now there appeared a class of "dealers"
- so-called "mediators". These persons made deals with the
Germans such as repurchasing confiscated furniture and other
Another who was famous at the time was the German policeman
Mitschke. He would prowl the streets and if he saw a Jew
carrying a package, he would pursue the individual and take
the items. Often he would shoot the Jewish victim. There
was no reasoning with him. Once a group of Germans came
to Bedzin with for the purpose of filming. They sought out
Jewish persons of a special type whom they called "OstJuden"
(Eastern Jews). The Germans ordered these individuals to
pose for them. They devised poses in which such "Eastern
Jews were photographed in the act of causing terrible deeds
upon Germans. The filrn-takers gave to one such destitute
Jew an (unloaded) revolver in his hand, and ordered him,
with his second hand, to pose as though he was grasping
a uniformed German soldier in uniform by the throat. In
this pose, the Germans photographed him. After this scene,
the Germans beat the Jewish victim into unconsciousness.
At the end of 1939, a group of Jewish men were taken for
labor on all the heavier works of the town, such as work
for the municipality. From these people and later from others,
there was created the Ordnergruppe, later to become the
Jewish Police. These were only to maintain order among the
Jewish population. In September 1940, there arrived from
Sosnowiec the "Sonderbeauftragte des Reichsfuhrers SS und
Chef der Deutschen Staatpolizei fur Fremdvolkische Arbeitensatz
in OstoberSilesia." ("Special Emissary of the National Leader
of the SS and Chief of the German Regional Police for Employment
of Foreigners in East Upper Silesia") who requested Jewish
able-bodied persons for work in the labor camps in Germany.
This was a terrible institution. Supposedly from beginning
nobody had access to them, not even the Jewish Head Office
("the Centrale"). The Schmelt Organization demanded men,
18 to 45 years of age, for slave labor in Germany. The Judenrat
was required to deliver an ordered number of these people
to the Germans. At the beginning, some Jewish persons even
voluntarily applied. The Germans made promises as if it
were to be a "golden mountains". The volunteers would return
home after three months and, in their stead, others would
be sent. However, in the meantime, the experience of the
camps proved to be very bad. The workers were given little
to eat and were heavily worked on various road and other
construction. All they were beaten in an inhuman manner.
Naturally, when further orders for Arbeitseinsatz (forced
labor) appeared, then the Jewish youth hid and sought ways
to avoid such assignment. The Sonderbeauftragter's office
then took the matter of finding Jewish persons for such
labor by not requesting the Judenrat to secure such workers.
Instead it responded by sending in their own infamous hundred
policemen and SS who immediately began to arrest and imprison
Jewish persons on the city's streets. They surrounded the
city and forced the Jews from their various hiding-places
and from apartments.
The SS and police took the victims first to the Sosnowiec
transient camp ("Durchgangslager") i.e. "Dulag". In the
Dulag, the victims were "examined" by a doctor, who had
acknowledged in advance, that all those captured were physically
able to work. The victims, after this, were sent farther
to various labor camps in Germany. At the beginning, there
were excluded from this draft of forced labor, only "Ordner"
(i.e. security) people. This is why many Jews began to apply
for employment with the Jewish Police. After this, and also
because of the intervention of the Judenrate in conjunction
with German firms there were given out the so-called "Sonders",
which were honored by Schmelt's (the name of the Sonderbeauftragter
i.e. Himmler's personal emissary) Organization.
Firms managed by German trustees, the so-called "Treuhandler"
also sought Jewish labor for their (the Jew's) own businesses
because the Germans themselves weren't able to do business
without them (because only former owners knew the details
of their former firms). An additional benefit to the Jewish
person, which added to a bit of calming in the city, was
that such Jewish persons were protected from Arbeitseinsatz.
From this entire matter of the employment of Jewish persons
either in Arbeitseinsatz, private German firms or the Treuhandler,
Schmelt received huge income. Every working Jew had to give
30% his own monthly earnings. The firm for which he worked
had to contribute another 18% of the employee's salary.
Schmelt also established the pay rate for Jews which, in
relation to the high prices of food, etc., were minimal.
At the beginning, few women were sent to the labor camps.
Only as many as were necessary to operate the services of
the men's camps; for example, to run the kitchen and laundry.
For these women, their small numbers were very bad in every
respect. Because of hunger and persecution by the Germans,
many of them fell morally. In this time, too, there began
to come into being local workshops. Jews assisted in this
aim the German man Alfred Rosner, who founded a sewing workshop.
In his shop were employed Jewish male specialists as well
as Jewish and Christian women employees. A second sewing
workshop, "Michac", was soon founded in which Christian
women employees continued to work. Rosner's workshop employed
only Jewish workers. Michac also employed Jews together
with small number of Aryan (non-Jewish) workers.
In February of 1940, inasmuch as the Germans had appropriated,
from the first days of their occupation the nicest apartments
in modern buildings e.g. on Saczewskiego and Pilsudskiego
streets, so now they began to remove Jews generally from
all apartments in the same manner from different streets.
The "dealmakers" had much work now because there was organized
an "Umsidlungsstab" (a resettlement staff) which was responsible
for housing the Volkdeutsche brought from Bessarabia and
Bukowina as well as other resettled Germans. This was a
most important institution and hence the difficulty of dealing
with them created a need for the "dealmakers" to extend
the time limits by which the Jewish residents must yield
their apartments. Then there began various persecutions.
For example, one side of a street would be closed to the
use of Jews. On the other side as yet one may go. Again
police began to scrupulously exactly attend to the execution
of the rules. The Jewish population had to proceed in exactly
the correct manner and appointed place. When some Jewish
person inadvertently transgressed, the policeman immediately
demanded a payment of a fine and made an official record
of the event. This Jewish person was now noted by the police
so that, even after a year this could be a pretext for repressive
measures, even deportation to Auschwitz. The police also
often beat a man in such an instance. Moreover, because
the local population, in respect to obedience to traffic
regulations wasn't at all orderly, so the strict enforcement
of the law was very profitable for the police and "deal
The Germans also punished very severely should someone forget
to wear on his/her arm the Jewish band. There only also
appeared very few Orthodox Jews on the street. If a Jew
didn't want to shave his beard, then he sat in his apartment
because he was afraid of Germans. The Germans forbade Jews
to travel by train though at first it was possible to do
so with special passes. It was forbidden to travel more
than 12 km from one's permanent place of residence. In the
trams, there were separate carriages for the German population
and others for the Poles and Jews. Later, Polish and Jewish
citizens were separated on the trams by chains. In the carriages
for the Jews there was vefy little place. Soon after this,
it was forbidden altogether for Jews to travel inside the
tram carriages; they could ride only on carriage's platform.
Because Jews couldn't find space on platforms, and, as we
know, in Zaglebie there was a large concentration of Jews,
the Jewish Centrale requested specially-marked trams for
Jewish use. This was granted though they ran only a minimum
number daily. These trams were terribly crowded. The German
and Jewish police thereby had great opportunity to beat
Jewish travelers. Finally, Jews waiting for tram were set
aside and counted. Then they were packed in the tram carriages
like cattle. At the end of 1941, it was forbidden to leave
Bedzin, unless one obtained special permission from the
police in Sosnowiec. It was forbidden also to be on the
street in the evenings. The curfew began in winter from
7 p.m. and in summer at 8 p.m. This was one of the first
orders of the invaders. The curfew was very severely enforced.