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HOLOCAUST TESTIMONIES

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Circumstances of the Jews of Bedzin during the German occupation


Another of the early orders were the regulations relating to Jewish properties. Specifically, it was forbidden to sell property which one owned, particularly items relating to homes. In spite of this, Jews traded secretly because they had no other means by which to live. Such orders restricting the freedom of Jews were sent out one after one in extraordinary pace. Then the authorities began an extraordinary battle against "profiteering" - i.e. secret trading - but in this contest, the Germans' efforts came to naught, even though it was forbidden to possess more than 1000 marks and though it wasn't allowed to have in one's living space more items than one could purchase with a ration card. For example, if the authorities found in someone's apartment an egg this could result in catastrophic consequences, even deportation to Auschwitz.

At the end of 1940 the Germans issued special orders relating to cleaning streets in the so-called "Judenraum" (Jewish Area). Although they had begun to create a Jewish district, the plan failed because the layout of the city of Bedzin didn't permit an easy definition of such an area. Moreover, the local authorities, partly bribed by Jews, didn't hurry to develop the plan and more importantly the plan itself hadn't originated with the Gestapo. The end of the effort was that Jewish living quarters were relegated to back streets and alleys. Jewish residence on the main streets was ended. If someone had to go onto a main street to his place of work, this was only possible under escort of the Jewish Police who in such cases stood on the street corners and controlled this order. The result was that all Jewish life in Bedzin was perforce concentrated on Modrzejowska, Old Market, Podzamcze, Czeladzka, and nearby-streets.

By order of the German authorities all Jewish persons had to add their own name the second name of Israel in the case of males and Sara in the case of females. Such designation was to apply to all correspondence official as well as private. Failure to obey of this order was severe punishment, including deportation. If somebody expiated punishment of prison and of arrest or generally if somebody was noted in police, even for not correctly walking on the street, he was threatened with the same punishment.

An event which occurred in mid-morning of a sunny day in June is worth relating. At about 10 in the morning, the entire area near the stores on Modrzejowska street was surrounded by German police. The men stopped a few dozen of Jews, mostly with beards and dressed in their traditional caftans. Under threat of drawn revolvers they were forced to simulate an armed attack with rifles and bayonets on the German police, who for this purpose lay down on the ground. Jews with bayonets and weapons in hand had to simulate an attack upon the supine Germans. From above, photographs were taken of the scene and sent to "der Sturmer" newspaper. At about the same time, there was published in "der Sturmer" a photo of old Jew who had suffered from a disfiguring sciatica for many years. He was photographed with residents of Bedzin, who, in the caption of the photo pointed out the unfortunate man as the ringleader of a band of smugglers.
The Germans delighted in this kind of ploys such as photographing all sorts of handicapped Jewish persons and presenting the caricatures to their own readership in all sorts of poses as typical representatives of Jewish race.

On 5 April 1941 there arrived in Bedzin Jewish persons who had been deported from the city Oswiecim (Auschwitz). The Jewish residents of Bedzin accepted them very hospitably. At first, because there wasn't housing available, they were placed in the Jewish Orphanage building, where they received food.

On 9 April a second transport of deportees arrived. These, too, were placed in the Orphanage since the first group had been re-located in private apartments. In June, 1940 came there arrived in Bedzin a transport of Jews from the countryside of Zaglebie, who were accepted and all were allotted housing.

In 1942, Jews generally were not allowed to leave their areas of residence, except with the individual permission of the Gestapo and the Police headquarters. It was mostly the higher officials of the Jewish Committees Judenrate and some workers for German firms who received such passes. Also during this time, the Jewish tram service was canceled. The only means of transport was the horse-drawn carriage. Every Judenrat had a horse and carriage, but there was no fodder for the horses. Early in the occupation, the head of the Central Judenrat Moses Merin was the only Jew in the entire area occupied by the Germans to possess a car for his own use.

In October 1941 an order was issued mandating that any Jew found in possession of any kind of fur or woolen articles would be punished by the by-now well-known threat - deportation to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). 95% Jews complied with this order by giving the articles to the Judenrat; the remaining 5% gave these articles to Christian friends for safekeeping since to sell was also punishable. Soon after this there appeared similar orders concerning all types of electrical devices, such as electric stoves, irons, etc. This order wasn't complied with as strictly since these were small items which could be hidden. Moreover these were indispensable to everyday living.

Then an order was issued by the municipality requiring every Jew to give 3 days of (unpaid) work for the benefit of the city. However, it was possible to pay a sum of money so as to avoid this work. Then it was forbidden for any Jewish person to possess a telephone, radio, photographic devices or even a gramophone. It wasn't even allowed to own a bicycle.

All Jewish craftsmen had to specially register with the Judenrate and to perform (unpaid) work for it. It was forbidden for Jews to correspond with any German firm even by identifying his race with the added name of "Israel". Jewish establishments and craftsmen had only the right to serve Jewish customers. For the entire area of Upper and Lower Silesia and Zaglebie, there were only two Jewish lawyers, one in Gliwice and the other in Bytom. This had the effect of reducing the possibility of court judgments to zero.

Further, it was prohibited to teach in Bedzin Jewish children either in lay or religious subjects. This is why there were no schools during the entire time of the German occupation. This prohibition was overcome by private teaching in secret.
Other harassments included the forbidding of Jews to attend cinema or other entertainment.

After some time, the Jewish armbands were required to be replaced with a yellow Star of David bearing in its center the black inscription "Jude". This badge of shame had to be worn sewn exactly on the center of the left breast. Such a badge had to be sewn on every article of clothing worn in one' s residence and place of work.

Almost daily, there appeared new instruction of general character, all of which had the purpose of increasing the difficulty, and making impossible, normal life for Jews. The city hospitals had no right to accept Jewish patients. Only the institution for the mentally ill at Brzozowice, near Bedzin, accepted Jews after numerous efforts by the Judenrat. But there, Jewish patients, in a brief time, were murdered.

Because until 1943, in our area, there were no Jewish surgeon permitted, in the events an operation were necessary, the patient was sentenced to death in advance. At the end of 1942 participation in a Jewish funeral was restricted to only the nearest of kin. The funeral procession was required to pass quickly on the street to the cemetery.

It was forbidden also for Jews to be married in a civil service. However, for Jews it was sufficient to have a religious marriage. For the minor financial crime of dealing in foreign currency, the Germans in 1942 held a public execution by hanging. For this purpose there were placed in the most visible points within the cities a number of gallows conforming to the number of victims. Then the entire population was required to assemble and view the execution.

Those individuals who didn't want to witness such scenes were brought by under compulsion by the police. Executions such as these were solemn spectacles to the German authorities. At such times, their mendacity was so apparent that, before the execution, they read the judgment in the German and Polish languages, using the words "in the name of German law". The hanged victims were left on the gallows for several hours with the purpose of frightening the populace. Similar executions took place not only in Bedzin, but in all the cities of Zaglebie.
The executions were not only for "criminal" acts, but also for political crimes. Next to the punishment of deportation to Oswiecim (
Auschwitz), the punishment of hanging was the only alternate deterrent in the Germans' relation to Jews until the liquidation of the Srodula and Kamionka ghettoes in August 1943.

In May 1942, by order of the Gestapo, there began the system of mass- deportation of Jews from Zaglebie. Such operations took place in the following manner: the Judenrat sent a written summons to various individuals of the city ordering them to appear at the Jewish Orphanage building together with packed hand luggage and food for several days. Persons receiving such summonses became part of a deportation group. It wasn't clear under whose influence there spread the rumor that, for 100% certain, these persons were definitely to be sent to a destination at which Jews were to be resettled. However, the Jewish residents of the city, having had unpleasant experiences didn't believe the Germans' promises of new Jewish settlements being formed. As a result only a very small percentage of those being summoned actually appeared.

The fate of those who reported was fore-ordained. They were sent away and nothing more was heard from them. The Gestapo understanding that this voluntary reporting method was not efficient, in the following month (June 1942) used another method. With participation of the Jewish police, they surrounded at night large apartment blocks occupied solely by Jews and emptied all inhabitants from the selected dwellings. Once surrounded on the street, the Jewish persons were escorted under guard of the German police to the Assembly Point (Umschlagplatz).
From there, at daybreak, they were packed into box cars like cattle and sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). Only a meager percentage of those apprehended in this manner was able to survive by escaping or bribing. In such a fashion several thousand captured Jewish persons were sent from Bedzin.

In August 1942 when it seemed that the wave of deportations had lessened, the news was spread that on the 12th of the month, all Jewish inhabitants of Sosnowiec, Bedzin and Dabrowa Gornicza had to appear, entirely without regard to sex or age. There even had to appear at the Assembly Points new-born infants and cripples. All must wear their best clothing and have with them food for one day.

The purpose of the gathering was given as a reconfirmation of photo identity cards "Lichtbild auisweis" by Gestapo. The Judenrate, in their own announcements assured the populace of calm and of a definite return, on the same day, to their residences. They explained that the purpose of the assembly was that the Gestapo had to have an exact record of number of Jewish population.
In calls and announcements the Judenrat also emphasized that, if after the 12th of August, anyone didn't have on his or her identity card a stamp from the Gestapo, that person would be immediately deported. It must be admitted for exculpation of the activists within the Judenrat that they acted in good faith, though having cooperated with German authorities from the beginning and knowing their falseness and hypocrisy, the Judenrat could expect from them only the worst outcome. However, there was no alternative but to comply.

On 12 August 1942 at 5 in the morning on a beautiful summer day, crowds of men, of old men, of women and of children proceeded to one of two points, one being located on the sports-field "Hakoach" on ulica Kosciuszki, and the second on the sports-field "Sarmacja" on ulica Malobadz. It would not be an exaggeration to report that more than 99% of Jewish population appeared in response to the order of the Judenrat since I can personally testify to this. All the streets of the Jewish area were completely empty and as were innumerable homes the entire day of the "Aktion". Indeed, all attics and cellars were completely empty. From among 28,000 Jews in the Community, I knew of only one man left at home and he was completely paralyzed. He, upon seeing me, asked that I carry him to the Assembly Point.

At 7 in the morning, the gates of the Assembly Points were closed and at 8 AM the area was surrounded by gendarmerie and German police. On seeing this, the mood of the populace soon began changing. The people now understood that they had surrendered into a tragic trap. The heat became terrible, the sun burnt mercilessly. The crying of babies and torments of the ill and old people and complaints of thirsty people were heard everywhere.

At 10, the Gestapo and members of the Schmelt Organization arrived. The people were gathered at one end of the assembly area and, like cattle, each had to pass through an inspection of "buyers and butchers".

Older people, handicapped people, children and young persons who had children were classed as group #3. They were sent to a designated area where they were under guard so that no one from among them would disappear. Young persons healthy, of both sexes, who weren’t workers in large workshops or in the Judenrat were classed as group #2. They were designated to be sent for forced work to Germany.

Finally, those remaining i.e. people working in large workshops and in the Judenrat were classified as group #1. These were to remain at work in Bedzin. The “Aktion” lasted the entire day and all torrentially-rainy night and into the next day. It is hard to imagine the entire of the situation which came into being on the assembly points during and after segregation. Children were separated from parents, husbands from wives, brothers from sisters. Screams and weeping was heard over a radius of several kilometers as the horror of the situation was increased by the torrential rain which lasted the whole night of 12/13 August. People dropped from fatigue because the ground was too wet to permit sitting. Children fainted on the shoulders of their mothers. Older people resignedly sat down in puddles of mud and prayed, bidding farewell to their dearest persons. Every0where people fell unconscious like flies.

Above the weeping and screaming, there dominated the bestial screams of the Gestapo who, with whips and rifle butts "kept order" among the Jewish mass. Countless was number of victims this night in this place, and on the following day began the real tragedy.

About 11 in the morning, men from Gestapo with large numbers of police then began a true pageant of death. People from group #3 were placed in rows and these who couldn’t stand on legs were dragged or supported on the shoulders of stronger victims. They began to rush these unfortunates in the direction of Orphanage of sad memories. It should be added that, group #2 was liquidated by being divided between groups #1 and #3.

Group #1 had their documents stamped and were released to return home. There, they were to spend several more months of work and suffering. Then they, too, would be sent away as those before them.

During this time, the Orphanage was filled with unfortunate people. People were held there for several days. It should be noted that both the Jewish police as well as officials of the Judenrat performed miracles in effecting assistance often at risk of their own lives. Here and there, it was possible to encounter different rotten tricks on the part of the Jewish police, but the truth be said that a considerable number of those scheduled for deportation were saved.

The result of the “Aktion” of August 1942 in Bedzin was that some dozens died at the Assembly Point and about 5,000 victims were sent to their deaths.
It must be added that identical operations were undertaken simultaneously on the same day in Sosnowiec and in Dabrowa. This was the purpose in confusing the Jewish population and making it impossible to move during the day of the Aktion to other towns. It must be admitted that deportation Aktions in the Generale Gouvernement had already existed some time earlier. Actually, Zaglebie Dabrowskie had been, until now, an asylum to which remaining Jews who had survived within the various towns of the Generale Gouvernement had fled.
Those persons, without Jewish armbands and disguised as Aryans got through mostly at night usually under great danger. They were smuggled out of the Generale Gouvernement either by relatives or friends or by completely unknown people. The fugitives hid as long as they could, trying to save their lives often in cold and hunger all the while being set upon like animals.

In case such an unfortunate person from the Generale Gouvernement was caught without a proper "Lichtausweis" (photo identity card), his fate was known in advance. The Judenrat did much to help such fugitives. At the beginning it was possible to have them to go to labor camps in Germany where a man ceased being human and became only a number.

Not infrequently there took place events which produced for these fugitives false documents, making it possible for them stay on in the area of Zaglebie.
After some time, our "Leiter" (sarcastic for “leader” as in Führer) Moses Merin succeeded in legalizing with the authorities the so-called “A.K.” (Arbeits Kommando = work groups), recruited solely from such fugitives. They were quartered in barracks under supervision of Jewish police. They performed work in different tasks for authorities. These people fared comparatively well -- they were held at the cost of the Judenrat and the housing and health conditions were tolerable.

Because the A.K. was recruited mostly from young, healthy, clever and “prepared for everything” type individuals, they became close to our people. They organized trade unions and, living on a communal agricultural Jewish farm, became the nucleus of a revolutionary movement which illegally began to organize within the Jewish society. The movement grew from day to day. It had its own envoys in the entire country as well as in foreign lands such as Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Secret meetings were held at night in Kamionka bunkers became the embers of a movement whose task was first to organize young people and mobilize of all kinds of weapons.

And if it weren’t short period of time, during which, to save the lives of one’s own family, denunciations were made betraying the conspiracy and led to deportation by the Germans, who knows whether this movement would not have played a serious role in the history of Zaglebie Dabrowskie during the German occupation.
The authorities began to arrest and deport many young persons. The Jewish Centrale (Merin) entered into the matter and called public meetings in which they called upon the youth to be loyal and obedient to the authority of Merin’s Centrale. These meetings did not achieve the desired result, but the movement within our area became stifled. The only uprising in our region occurred in August 1943 when a group of young people under the leadership of comrade Frumka, hidden in a bunker in Kamionka defended itself to the last. There were many killed on the German side as well. Unfortunately, the reserve of ammunition was too small and a large number of the defending youths were killed.

A portion of the youth did escape and found its way to the underground army. The remainder were taken into the hands of Nazi thugs. The Germans, furious at this resistance, took revenge in the following manner: the entire Monday transport consisting of 6,000 persons was sent without selection to the gas chambers of Oswiecim (Auschwitz).

To return, however, to the end of 1942 when the influx of persons from the Generale Gouvernement was large enough so that the authorities made constant night-time searches, harrying these unfortunate persons and pursuing them from place to place. Some of these persons often became weary and despaired of life so that they surrendered to the authorities by themselves. The authorities sent these unfortunates according to their momentary whim either to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) or to labor camps.

In November of 1942 a wide-scale action plan was conceived. All men 17 to 50 years of age and all women 16 to 45 years, who were not workers in Rossner's workshop were required to appear before the Judenrat’s medical board where, after a perfunctory examination, they were classified as capable of being sent to Germany for forced labor.

Since no one voluntarily appeared for these examinations, there began a systematic Aktion lasting several days and nights with the object of finding persons intended for "Arbeitseinsatz" (forced labor). Jewish police with participation of "Schupos" made day and night roundups of those designated by the Judenrat. When they didn’t find the specified individual whose name was on a list they took "substitute" for the missing person, a so-called "Ersatz". The Ersatz were often the wife, the children or even elderly parents who were held and tormented until the person who was sought surrendered. When this form of hostage-taking didn’t succeed, there appeared announcements advising all those who had failed to report as ordered that should they fail to surrender by a set time, then in their stead members of their family would be deported to Auschwitz.
A very meager percentage of the missing persons appeared because they thought that this threat is yet another trick of Merin’s Centrale Judenrat. Unfortunately, this time the ruse proved to be true. Dozens of unfortunate persons were sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and all trace of them disappeared. Furthermore, the deportation of innocents did not affect in any way the continuing search for persons who were recorded on the Arbeiteinsatz lists and had failed to report.
Now people began to build bunkers (hiding places) in attics and cellars. At night they found refuge in firms belonging to Germans. Many times they spent nights in the open air. No one slept in his own residence. It was no longer possible to meet some one at his/her own address.

Because the Aktions didn’t deliver the desirable results, the German authorities tried other means. Namely, on a certain night about 2 AM summonses were delivered by a policeman to various individuals throughout the community. The individual was told that he/she must immediately appear at the Judenrat. When the summoned person arrived, he found already present a large assembly of people gathered in the President’s office. It was a meeting of the most important citizens of the city including doctors and in general the so called "opinion of the city" individuals.

In a grave mood, the president read a letter sent by Merin’s Centrale Judenrat in Sosnowiec which, in turn, had received it from the Gestapo. In the letter, the Gestapo demanded the delivery on the following at 10 a.m. 100 persons from a list for Arbeitseinsatz, with this following addition: that this number of 100 persons must be delivered each day for a long period of time. If the group failed to furnish the Gestapo within the set time-limit i.e. 10 o'clock in the morning then it had to furnish a list of names of 10 citizens of the city of Bedzin, who would be publicly hanged.

The Judenrat’s President appealed to the assembled persons to each express his own opinion in this matter. Of course, the second alternative did not enter into consideration. Discussion was limited only to advising the manner in which the persons would be set on the list for deportation each day. After a few hours discussion, it was decided by the people assembled, without excepting of Rabbis, that they should go at once to the city and present to the populace the threat of the situation and urge the populace to have volunteers to serve in the Arbeitseinsatz. But this urging didn't solve the problem. Although on the following day the group of people was found, on the following days thee weren’t volunteers to be found. Among those holding back were the Jews employed in Rossner's workshop who were happy with their good fortune.

Soon afterwards, on a day in April 1942, several hundred employees of Rossner's workshop being entirely from the richest Jews of Bedzin who contributed to the German authorities many tens of thousand marks to be employed in the supposed safety of Rossner’s Bautrupp (construction crew) were surrounded by German Police. No intervention was of avail. The entire group of men and women were sent to work to Germany and only small part of them survived to the end of the war.

From this moment when the supposed safety of working in Rossner's workshop disintegrated, Jewish life in Zaglebie Dabrowskie vanished as though impacted by a volcano. Henceforth, there wasn’t a peaceful moment for the Jewish inhabitants either by day or night. There were continuous roundups and new pronouncements. The frantic youth saw their only salvation to lie in the production of Aryan papers and their eing accepted asacting as Aryans.

It should be stressed that that there were many cases in which parents gave their children, their own babies, to Aryans who took them either for money or for altruism. Thus, there began an existence without any illusions. All were prepared for extermination and death.

Then, like a ray of light shining on these gloomy and drab days a new flicker of hope dawned on the horizon of Jewish life. Some families began to receive passports to Switzerland thereby qualifying for assignment to an Internment Camp (I-Lager) with the status of “foreign nationals”. It should be admitted that the foreign countries involved made great efforts in this matter with the aim of saving those or similar people, but unfortunately... as a consequence of dark machination of the Centrale Judenrat in Sosnowiec headed by Monic Merin as leader, this action which could have saved large number of persons from death did not achieve its intended result.

Only a first transport of twenty or so persons arrived at the intended destination of the Du-lag and all internees from this transport remained alive. The second and third transports, as a result of the false ambition and social deficient of the Jewish management ended in the main Nazi Concentration Camp ("Lager") of Oswiecim (Auschwitz), where they were murdered. There were no further transports despite the fact that many families possessed legal documents authorizing them to be interned as foreigners.

This was probably the most disgraceful and most unscrupulous act of the Centrale Judenrat and its leaders who, by placing their own private ambitions over the public welfare signed with their own hands the judgments of death on many important citizens of the town.

But history claims its revenge. The same persons who prepared extermination for others and who each had taken the opportunity to save their own lives and who, as rumor tells it, were in possession of these foreign documents, several days later shared the fate of their own people. Moses Merin, his assistant and right hand Franya Czarna, Doctor Löwenstein and Merin's brother, Chaim Merin, were insidiously called to the Gestapo, allegedly for a meeting.

They then disappeared, being sent to an unknown direction (most likely to Auschwitz). After the arrest and deportation of the leaders of the Zaglebie Jews, the remaining Jewish people became as a ship in turbulent waters without a captain. Their successors weren’t competent enough to control such an administrative machine as was the Centrale. The new leaders were helpless in the face of constant persecution and orders from the German authorities. The administration of the Centrale Judenrat which, until now, had worked efficiently now became completely disorganized. There was a lack of authority. No one was able to accept the burden of management. Any remaining optimists now lost heart. It was an open secret that the last chapter of Jewish life in Zaglebie was drawing to an end.

On the night of 19 May 1943 in Srodula i.e. the Sosnowiec ghetto and part of the Bedzin ghetto, the street named "Steingasse" was surrounded by German Police and Gestapo. With no selection or regard as to where and who was working and what functions were involved, victims were seized and taken to the former Orphanage where they were held several hours. These persons were then loaded in freight wagons much like cattle and sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). From this group of several thousand persons, no one survived.

On 22 June about 3-4 o'clock in the morning, the entire Kamionka Ghetto was surrounded by “Schupos” and Gestapo. The entire Jewish population, amidst a hail of blows, shots and grenades from the furious German soldiers were driven out to the Assembly Point in a large square in Kamionka.

Every dwelling was searched in detail. All cellars and attics were searched in the same manner so that it was difficult for anyone to hide. In this way there were driven to the Assembly Point twelve or so thousand Jews with children, old men and cripples. All people had to pass selection, but there were no criteria. It wasn’t known basically what decided deportation -- whether age, employment, or even one’s appearance - everything depended upon the whim of a Nazi thug, who with riding-whip in hand and with the most indifferent expression, sent thousands of human beings, young and healthy to their deaths.

Here children were separated from parents and wives from husbands. After every effort at resistance, the survivors were tortured in terrible ways. The Aktion lasted through the whole day and the result was deportation of several hundred persons to Oswiecim (Auschwitz), a lesser number sent to Arbeitseinsatz in Germany and a few dozen dead people who remained where they fell. It should be stressed that all workers of Rossner's workshop, no matter the age or sex were immediately sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and this transport went directly to the gas chambers and crematorium. Persons remaining alive were sent home there to remain to enjoy the “delights of life” for the ten weeks remaining until the first of August when the final liquidation of Zaglebie Dabrowskie Jews occurred.

On Saturday after noon on 31 July, rumors began about the possibility of an Aktion again, but no one believed this. At night, as later it was told, the Germans brought wagons, but as yet there was heard no shot. At 3 in the morning, it turned out that entire ghetto had been surrounded. Now, no one could escape.

German police (Ordners) walked about and shouted, “Out, onto the the streets!” Jewish police walked about shouting to the sleeping residents to awaken and prepare for transport because the area will be made "Judenrein" (cleansed of Jews). There appeared squads of Germans in battle dress. They were armed as though they were about to enter a heavy battle. Still, no one believed that this would be the final deportation of Jews.

There had been so many lies ‘til now that people thought that at this time the Judenrat’s officials continued to lie. In spite of this belief, people began to enter their hiding places. An order was given for Jews to gather near the Judenrat building. Those persons who voluntarily appeared were sent with the first transport at 8.30 in the morning. The second transport left at 11.30, and a third at 3.00 in the afternoon.

It wasn’t known to where these transports went. It was said that they went to Annaberg in Silesia, a long-standing labor camp. In this manner, several transports left daily from Bedzin for a period of 3 or 4 days. After that, it transpired that a number of Jews had to be left alive in order to properly close down the ghetto. Here was yet another opportunity to squeeze from the Jews a little money. This is the reason that Liquidating Camps were organized in Srodula for the Sosnowice liquidation and at Rossner's workshop for the Bedzin area. Using the enticement of work (and living) in the Liquidation camps, it was easier to draw Jews from their bunkers.

Within the ghetto, firing lasted for some four weeks. People were shot and hurriedly buried where they fell. Later, the bodies were exhumed and taken to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). This work was done by the Jewish police.

During the first days of the "Judenrein" Aktion, some 2,000 Jewish persons were shot. There were two attempts of resistance among the Jews, but the only result was that those transports went directly to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. In order to extract the rest of the people from their bunkers, the Germans shut off the water supply. This had the effect of forcing a part of the Jews to leave their bunkers and apply for work in the Liquidating Camps.





 
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