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Circumstances of the Jews of Bedzin during the German occupation

Name of deponent: Sandzer (Sander), Jakub
Birthdate: 22 November 1889
Birthplace: Bedzin
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 in passing.

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 satisfaction.

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 Jewish population.

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 Committee.

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 matters.

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 makers".

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.

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