Name of deponent: Jerichem Frajman
Birth date: July 17, 1903
Birth place: Porabka near Strzemieszyce
Parents: Icek and Chana (maiden name Monszajn)
Current address (1946): Sosnowiec, ul. Malachowskiego 10
Strzemieszyce is a small provincial town lying between Dabrowa
Gornicza and Slawkow. There is railway station. Strzemieszyce
is a town inhabited by workers and railway men. The region
around the town is inhabited by country people, who each
day bring their farm products and buy manufactured goods.
The pre-war population of Strzemieszyce was 7,000 people
of whom about 2,000 were Jewish. Jewish population in Strzemieszyce
was mostly of local origin. The Jews had been living there
for many years. Jews earned their living by trading and
owned small shops. Others were small merchants and peddlers
who went to the surrounding towns for fairs or who brought
goods to local working people. A number of Jews were employed
in a local chemical factory. There were also a number of
Jewish artisans in handicrafts.
In pre-war Strzemieszyce lived 6 engineers, 2 dentists,
1 doctor and a few teachers. Religious life was concentrated
in the synagogue and in orthodox houses of prayer. There
was also a Jewish religious school. However, there wasn’t
Jewish cemetery so that people were buried in Slawkow. Some
of the richer young Jewish students attended the Jewish
high school in Bedzin. Among the Jews of Strzemieszyce a
number of political parties were active and there were organized
cultural and social events.
When the war began, the majority of the Jewish residents
of Strzemieszyce fled, when they saw that there was no shelter
and that the Germans had occupied the whole country, they
returned to their homes. On 5 September 1939 the German
Army entered Strzemieszyce. The Jewish residents hid in
their homes, fearing an enemy known for his barbarism. One
Jew who was, by a chance, on the street was shot dead. Then
began the general persecution of the Jewish population.
The Germans took hostages and beat and tortured them to
extract as much gold as possible in this manner. They caught
Jewish men daily and forced them to perform hard public
work. German soldiers plundered Jewish shops. They took
whole bags of goods. Then a “contribution” was required
of the Jews. All this happened during the first days of
In November 1939, the Judenrat was created, the head of
which was a certain Horowitz. Later, his place was taken
by a certain Flaszenberg - a vile person who accepted the
instructions of Sosnowiec Central Judenrat. There came into
being a Mark of Shame in the form of white band embroidered
on which was the Star of David which every Jewish person
had to wear on his/her left arm. In 1940 all Jewish shops
were confiscated into the control of German Trustees ("Treuhenders").
The Jewish former owners remained only for the short time
with the firms while the Germans gained knowledge of the
business. Jewish real estate was confiscated as State property
controlled by the so-called "Grundstucksgesellschaft". Ethnic
Germans were resettled from various other towns from Germany
occupied the nicer Jewish apartments.
In April 1940, there arrived in Strzemieszyce about 400
Jews expelled from Cieszyn. These refugees were cordially
accepted by the local Jews and placed among the local population.
In this manner. the number of the Jewish population in Strzemieszyce
increased. The Jews had to subsist on the items which they
could purchase with ration cards. In case other items were
discovered in Jewish possession, large financial penalties
or arrest for deportation was assessed.
In October 1940, the Judenrat sent to the local Jewish residents
a summons on the basis of which 300 men were sent to forced
labor camps in Silesia. This act caused great bitterness
among the Jewish population especially among the poorer
people because the first victims of the deportation were
poor people for whom the Judenrat derived no financial benefit.
The Jews who remained working in the town were under constant
surveillance of the Judenrat.
In 1941 when workshops were established in Bedzin which
produced items for the Wehrmacht, a division of Rossner's
factory was established. Also a metal working shop (Skopek’s)
was opened in Strzemieszyce. Jews were required to give
their machines and tools in order to have work in the workshop,
which they consider as sure protection against being sent
to forced labor. Those unemployed men and women were arrested
in daily roundups and sent to the "Dulag" in Sosnowiec.
From there they were sent to labor camps, where their brethren
labored swollen from hunger and cold.
In October 1941, the Badge of Shame was changed from the
white and blue armband to a yellow patch which had the shape
of the Star of David. Every Jew was required to wear such
star on his/her clothes on the left breast. Jews could not
leave the town except those working in the factories in
Bedzin. In December 1941 by demand of the Gestapo, the Jews
had to give up all furs and woolen articles for the German
army on the East Front. The Jewish people gave everything
demanded only to have peace. They thought that in this way
they will buy a measure of peace. Mostly the Jews were employed
in workshops. Their own firms they hadn't had for a long
In 1942 all persons working in the factories in Bedzin were
required to re-settle with their families in Bedzin. There
was given to them the possibility to move to ul. Podzamcze
and, in fact, there moved to that place some 500 Jews. In
Strzemieszyce there was no let up in the deportations to
In June 1942 the Judenrat sent summonses to people to come
with 10 kg of baggage to the Judenrat building for re-settlement.
Mostly it was the older persons and persons unwanted by
the Judenrat who received such summons, not working people.
When, on the appointed time, only a small group reported,
which didn’t meet the transport’s quota, the Jewish police
from Bedzin and Dabrowa Gornicza found 400 elderly, sick
and unemployed persons and sent them to Bedzin. From there,
they were sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). The town experienced
terrible tragedies. It was now clear to all the people that
what was happening was the total extermination of all Jews,
but the Judenrat called for more effort and work, as the
only way to survive.
In July 1942, there was called a so-called assembly of people
by representatives of Sosnowiec Central Office. Merin and
Molczadzki came to Strzemieszyce and assured the Jewish
population in their speeches that nothing bad would happen
to them. They called upon the people to come at the appointed
time for a review of their identity documents after which
all the people would be released. However, the Jewish people
didn't trust them. They thought they were making artifices.
At the end of July 1942, there arrived in Strzemieszyce
people from the Central Judenrat together with German and
Jewish police. The entire Jewish population of the town
were driven under terror to a location where their identity
documents (Ausweis) were certified with a stamp. This entire
operation was a "trick" prepared so as to lure later in
the same way the Jewish populations of Sosnowiec, Bedzin
and Dabrowa Gornicza who would assume that the same (harmless)
thing would happen to them. After this sham, there began
the concentration of Jews in one place. There was assigned
a designated street (ul. Dluga) where by March 1943 all
remaining Jews in the town Jews to the number of about 1,000
persons were re-settled. It was not permitted for Jews to
appear on any other street. Deportations for different imaginary
crimes which took place in various surrounding towns also
consumed victims from Strzemieszyce although not many.
This stagnation in the ghetto lasted until June 1943. On
15 June 1943, when no one expected it, the entire street
on which the Jews were concentrated was surrounded by the
Gestapo and Wehrmacht troops armed with machine-guns. The
entire Jewish population, without exception, was driven
out and sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) amidst continuous shooting.
On the square of the ghetto remained 43 dead Jewish persons,
among them many children. Several employees of the Judenrat
remained in the place for a short time performing for the
Germans the so-called “liquidation of Jewish properties”.
Later they were sent to Bedzin.
From a concentration of Jews which counted about 200 persons
there remained alive about 70 persons, who are living spread
about in various places. Strzemieszyce is now (1946) a town