Deponent #1: Dr. Samuel Mitelman
Birth date: August 20, 1895
Birth place: Dabrowa Gornicza
Parents: Mojzesz and Rozalia (maiden name: Siwek)
Deponent #2. Manek Szpigielman
Birth date: November 2, 1916
Birth place: Dabrowa Gornicza
Parents: Majer and Etla (maiden name: Rappaport)
In 1939, Dabrowa Gornicza counted 36,000 inhabitants. Among
this number were 1,500 Jewish families, more or less 6,000
Jewish persons. From this number, in August 1939 about 500
men were drafted into the Polish Army. From 15% to 20% of
population were indigenous people from Dabrowa and the rest
were newcomers from Strzemieszyce, Slawkow, Olkusz, Miechow
and other towns of the Kielce province. If we speak about
occupations, the Jews were mostly merchants and the rest
were craftsmen and traders. There were also people without
a profession who, as illegal workers, worked in the Jewish
factory "Bacia Klajn" in Dabrowa and in the Fürstenberg
zinc-works in Bedzin. There was clearly a lack of intelligentsia
in the area since among the 6,000 Jews, there were only
3 doctors, 1 attorney and 3 engineers. There were no Jewish
schools. Young people attended schools in the neighboring
On afternoon of September 4, 1939, the German Army entered
the town. At first, there were no human victims, but the
Germans set fire to the synagogue which was partly damaged
as a result. Later, the synagogue was converted by the Germans
into a storehouse which still stands today (1946). A few
weeks after the entry of the Germans, there arrived in Dabrowa
Gornicza 600-700 Jews from Austria, Germany and (Teschen)
Silesia. They were refugees. At the same time, about 800
young people, male and female, fled to the Soviet Union.
In October of that year, there was formed the Jewish Community
Council (Judenrat) whose president was a man named Borensztajn.
The Judenrat was located in an apartment on ul. Sienkiewicza
At the beginning of November 1939, persecution of Jews began.
Every Jew had to give money "per head" tax in
amount of 10 Reich Marks. This is so called "Kopf-Steuer".
At the same time, Jews were forced to make a community contribution
of 25,000 Reich Marks. On November 9, 1939, two days before
the Polish national holiday, fifteen Jewish persons were
taken as hostages and held in prison in Katowice. In December
1939, it was required to wear arm bands made from white
linen, 12 cm wide and embroidered or printed with a Star
of David. These were to be worn on the left arm. The armbands
made it easier for Germans to catch Jews in public places
and streets for forced unpaid labor for the city.
At the beginning of 1940, Jews were forced to leave their
apartments on the Third of May (3 maja) and Sobieskiego
streets. It was forbidden to take any personal property
from the apartments. It was also strictly forbidden for
Jews to walk on the streets designated "emptied of
Jews". An additional restriction for Jews was the curfew.
It was permitted to be on the streets only from 6 a.m. until
8 p.m. in the winter and until 9 p.m. in the summer. Another
restriction was the special trams to be used only by Jews.
These bore the inscription: "nur fur Juden". A
further restriction was that it wasn’t permitted to use
trains without special permission given by the German authorities.
In May 1940, Jewish residences were confiscated and in places
of business and factories, so-called commissioners ("Treuhandlers")
were installed. At first, they were Poles and then Germans
or "Volksdeutsche" persons.
In October 1940, the first Arbeitseinsatz (forced labor)
began. This was controlled by the Jewish Community (Judenrat),
which was enlarged and re-organized with many uniformed
Jewish constables. The Judenrat cooperated completely with
the German authorities, following orders given them. Persons
taken to forced work received an individual summons for
departure for labor to be performed “for three months” in
Germany. At first the summonses were mostly directed to
the poor population, since wealthier persons could bribe
themselves free of this obligation. The first cards appeared
on the "Hoszane-Rabe" holiday; the first transport
consisted of 300 men sent away on the last day of the "Sukot"
The year 1941 brought, with increasing rapidity, additional
restrictions upon the Jewish people. Expropriations were
carried forward. It wasn’t allowed for Jews to appear in
public places and offices. Jews were limited to the use
of several streets such as Fabryczna, Miejska, Stara Dabrowa,
Szopena and Okrzeja. Related to those restrictions were
penalties such as arrest and fines. A Volksdeutsch policemen
named Kuczera developed special abilities in tyrannizing
the Jewish population.
In September 1941, there appeared a new proclamation in
which Zaglembie Dabrowskie was joined to Germany proper
(“Alt Reich”). In connection with this, the white band armband
was replaced by a yellow Star of David. On the first day
of the "Rosz-Haszana" holiday we saw Jewish people
wearing the yellow star and its inscription: "Jude"
on their left chest. More often, we encountered the sending
away of young women to forced labor in Germany. Exempted
from deportation were pregnant women and mothers. As a result,
there were more marriages and childbirths.
At this time, there were organized the so- called workshops
("szops") such as Rossner's and Braun's factories.
They were large work institutions, where some 2,000 Jews,
male and female, gave their strength for the benefit of
the Wehrmacht while receiving paltry earnings. Nonetheless,
young people en masse sought to obtain these positions since
possession from this work was a paper called a “Sonder"
(a special) which, for a time, saved the bearer from deportation
to forced labor in Germany.
The skilled managers of the workshops were Jews who operated
under strict control of the Germans. The manager of Rossner's
workshop was a Mr. Lewensohn. For young people, there were
created, by the Judenrat, professional courses at which
various craftsmen gave instructions. At the end of 1941,
there appeared an order requiring the immediate donating
to the Judenrat of all kinds of fur-clothing as well as
woolen and partly-woolen garments. This clothing were destined
for the German Army in the Eastern front.
In the spring 1942, the entire Jewish population of Golonog
and Zabkowice were transferred to Dabrowa Gornicza. This
displacment action was managed by the Dabrowa Judenrat which
moved, on carts, entire families with the remnants of their
miserable property. In May 1942, there occurred the first
deportation of Jews. On the list were the poorest persons,
mostly those who depended upon Social Welfare assistance,
old people and children. Before the displacement, they were
given a deportation card with the date on which they must
report to the Gathering Point and a description of items
which were allowed to be taken, to a maximum weight 10 kg.
In the square adjoining the Community Council, that is,
Szopena #8, were assembled about 700 Jews who, as it was
later known, were sent to Oswiecim (Auschwitz) for extermina-
tion. After this first transport, other transports went
For the least offence, such as not properly maintaining
blackout, walking about after curfew, not properly crossing
a street, tearing away the mandatory "Jude" insignia,
possessing forbidden food (eggs, meat, herring, fruits),
etc., entire families were sent to the Bedzin Orphanage.
From there, a black vehicle regularly took the victims ,
"criminals" as the Germans referred to them, to
death in Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
In July 1942, the Centrale Judenrat from its headquarters
in Sosnowiec and by its "Leiter" Moniek Meryn
as its head, devised a ruse by which a mass deportation
of Jews from the entire Zaglebie region was carried out.
As in other towns of the region, including Dabrowa Gornicza,
the Judenrat organized meetings and speeches calling upon
all Jews, without exception, to appear on August 12, 1942
on the square near the Community Council for the purpose
of re-certifying personal identity papers.
The speakers emphasized that nothing bad would befall the
people. They urged the populace to appear in their best
clothes at the appointed time. On the appointed day, at
7 a.m., the entire Jewish population, from infants to old
persons, appeared at the Gathering Point. Only 45 persons
failed to appear. At 8 a.m., there appeared in the square
representatives of the German authorities and began their
They began first to organize the mass of people in alphabetical
order, forcing the populace with flailing whips from one
side of the square to the other. The assembled people began
to panic. They understood that they had been deceived and
had fallen into a trap. They realized now that they had
accepted the nice words of the Jewish "führer"
(Merin) who, in this manner, had hastened the tragic end
of Jewry in Dabrowa Gornicza. The Nazi torturers were insensible
to the groans of the older people and children, the sick
and the screaming of babies and lamentations of mothers.
2,500 victims were transported to the Orphanage in Bedzin
from where they were transported to death in the Oswiecim
(Auschwitz) gas chambers. The right to return unharmed to
their homes was given only to the privileged clique of officials
from the Judenrat and some of the working population who
were employed in workshops and German firms. Thus, of the
total number of 7,000 Jews (of local origin and newcomers),
there remained only some 2,000.
At the beginning of 1943, the Dabrowa Gornicza ghetto was
closed. People were crowded into houses on a few streets
such as Lukasinskiego, Szopena, Okrzei, Pierackiego, Polna
and Stara Bedzinska where, in one room, there were 6 to
7 persons. In July 1943, Dabrowa Gornicza was without Jews
(Judenfrei). Some of these persons went to (Kamionka near
Bedzin) and some to Srodula (near Sosnowiec). On August
1, 1943, all the Jews of Dabrowa Gornicza shared the fate
of the Bedzin and Sosnowiec Jews. They went, together, to
deportation to Oswiecim (Auschwitz).
Of the total number of Jews from Dabrowa Gornicza, there
survived the war only 300 persons. From these, one person
had worked, with Aryan papers, in "Huta Bankowa"
in Dabrowa, 14 had survived in various hiding places (among
them, three children) and the remaining persons returned
from concentration camps.
Today (the year 1946), in Dabrowa Gornicza live only 30
to 40 Jews.