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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 the occupation.

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 time.

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 labor camps.

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 without Jews.