Deponent: Neufeld Jakob
Birth Date: December 8, 1904
Birth Place: Jaworzno
Parents: Majloch and Szajndla (maiden name: Witelsohn)
War-time Residence: Jaworzno, Chrzanow and in Srodula in
Current Residence: At present (1947) living in Sosnowiec,
ul. Sadowa 2/14
On September 4, 1939, the Germans invaded Jaworzno. On September
1, 1939, there lived, in Jaworzno, about 1,800 Jews among
a total number of 23,000 inhabitants. The Jewish residents
of Jaworzno worked, until the war, in small trade, handcrafts
and office-work. A few worked in the near-by mines. There
were in Jaworzno only a few Jewish doctors, lawyers, and
dentists. Jaworzno belonged to Chrzanow district.
In Chrzanow there were, on September 1, 1939, about 8,000
Jews and, in Trzebinia, about 1,200-1,300 Jews. Those towns
belonged, until September 1, 1939, to the Krakow province.
The following towns of Krakow province in which Jews lived
were joined, administratively, to Ostoberschlesien at the
end of 1939: Chrzanow, Jaworzno, Trzebinia, Szczakowa -
about 600 Jews (towns), village Ciezkowice - about 40 Jews,
Jezor near Jaworzno - about 70 Jews, village Alwernia-Regulice
- about 40 Jews, village Libiaz - about 40 Jews, village
Chelmek - about 20 Jews.
When the Germans invaded Jaworzno, there were about 400
Jews in the town; the remainder had fled. One evening in
November 1939 at about 4 p.m., several Germans in dark uniforms
came to Jaworzno and asked a Polish woman where Jewish synagogues
were located. When she showed them the synagogue, they went
there and found many Jews. It was a Friday evening. They
ordered the people to finish their prayers and then disperse.
When all the people had left, the Germans placed dynamite
in the "Aron Hakodesh" and detonated it. In consequence
of this, windows were broken and the interior was completely
destroyed. They did the same in two other houses of prayer.
In October 1939, it was ordered that armbands be worn on
the left arm. In 1941, a day before Rosh Hashanah, these
armbands were changed to Juden- stern (Star of David).
Immediately after the German invasion, an Assistance Committee
for Jews was formed, which, later in 1940, was changed to
the Äeltestenrat and was subordinated to the control
of the Jewish Centrale in Sosnowiec.
The first Arbeitseinsatz in Jaworzno took place in the time
of "Simchat Torah" in 1940. When the Jewish Community
(Judenrat) of Jaworzno was subordinated to the Centrale
by order of Merin who, in turn, referred to an order of
the Gestapo, an exact census of the Jewish population was
made. One copy of the census was located in the Jewish Centrale
in Sosnowitz where a card index of all Jews of Zaglebie
was created. During the first Aktion for Arbeitseinsatz,
a representative of the Sosnowiec Centrale, Mr. Minc, came
to Jaworzno. He brought with him printed announcements which
said that all unemployed men, bachelors and married men
without children, were required to appear for a medical
examination. This would take place in the clinic of the
Jewish Community on Market street 1172 and would be done
in connection with sending them for forced labor in Germany.
On the following day, Dr. Mittelman from Dabrowa Gornicza
and Dr. Aspis arrived from Sosnowiec to carry out the medical
Many persons reported to the clinic. A part of the people,
mainly from Jezor, applied voluntarily to the doctor and
said that they wanted to report for work. At this time,
there were taken about 20 persons. They went, together with
Minc, to Chrzanow. From there, together with local persons
from Chrzanow, they were taken away to the first camps in
Silesia: Sakrau, Otmuth and Gogolin.
After this first Aktion for Arbeitseinsatz, the Dienststelle
in Sosnowiec issued the order that every Jew employed in
a working place or trade firm must have the permission of
the Dienststelle to perform that certain job. Each Jew received
an "Ausweiskarte" which, for a moment, protected
the holder from forced Arbeits- einsatz.
On this permit was written the word "Sonder".
There were three types of Sonders, designated by color:
pink, blue, green. Blue cards were given persons employed
by the "Stadt- verwaltung" (city administration).
Green cards were given persons employed in German firms.
Pink cards were given persons employed in Jewish firms or
by owners of Jewish firms.
Owners of Jewish shops and craftsmen's workshops paid 50
RM (Reich Marks) per month to the Gestapo’s Sosnowiec Dienst-stelle.
Working people paid 30% of their income gross to the Dienststelle.
In Jaworzno, Jews had shops and workshops without Treuhander's
until the final deportation of July 9, 1942.
At the beginning of 1941, Lindner, Ludwig, Knoll and Kuczynski
as well as a German doctor and a group of SA-men came to
Jaworzno. They arrested, on the streets, Jewish men of various
ages and took them to the Workers Council building on Stara
Huta street. Representatives of the Dienststelle checked
the arrested men to learn who held Sonderkarte. Those people
with such cards were released. People who didn't have these
cards were examined by the doctor and considered as capable
of working. They were held and immediately taken away in
vehicles, under German guard, to the Dulag in Sosnowiec.
From there, they were sent to forced labor camps in Germany.
In the summer 1941 (June, July), Kuczynski and Messner came
to Jaworzno and ordered all Jews who held pink “Sonders”
to appear in the yard near the Judenrat in order to change
the “Sonder” cards. Every such person appeared. The same
action had been done in other towns before, the “Sonders”
were taken and the people were released. In the yard were
set two tables. Kuczynski sat next to one Messner sat at
the other. Messner took cards from A to M letters and Kuczynski
from N to Z. They had exact lists of people and they watched
carefully each man, taking some notes. They took the Sonder
cards and left.
In the autumn - probably in November - at night, German
police came with lists from the office of the Sonderbeauftragte
(Schmelt) to those persons from whom the pink cards had
been taken. In all, they arrested about 80 persons, only
men, holding them in a school building. On the following
day, in the morning, Lindner, Kuczynski, Knoll with others
and a German doctor. All the men held in the school were
examined and some of them released. The remainder - about
70 persons - were taken away to the Dulag in Sosnowiec.
The list of persons had been brought one day before this
roundup by Kuczynski to the police.
At the end of 1941, because of the fear of the Arbeitseinsatz,
Jews sought protection from this by seeking work which deemed
important for the German military economy. Jewish men, about
250, and Jewish women, about 70 worked for the local mines.
The women worked in agricultural units near th eforest.
About 100 Jewish men worked for the City Government (Stadtverwaltung).
This work was on road construction and in agriculture.
On February 26, 1942, there was an Aktion for Arbeitseinsatz
for young women. Dr. Wilhelm, a worker for the Jewish Centrale
arrived on Feb 25 girls with a list about 60 employed girls,
given by Dienststelle and called upon these women to appear
on February 26 at the Community building. Only a few of
the summoned persons responded. At the same time, there
was similar Aktion summons for Arbeitseinsatz in Szczakowa.
In the morning, Kuczynski, Knoll, Ludwig and doctor Zarzycki.
arrived. When they saw that only a small group had appeared,
they ordered 25 "Geisel" (hostages), members of
the summoned families. In this action several Jewish constables
were present who had arrived with Dr. Wilhelm from Sosnowiec.
In Jaworzno were three Jewish "Ordner's", working
as care takers. When the local Jewish "Ordner's"
didn’t bring the proper number of "Geisel's",
the Germans themselves - Kuczynski, Ludwig and Knoll took
from shops and from the street about 20 Jews and took them
away to Dulag, together with those girls who responded.
At this time, I was also caught as a "Geisel"
by Ludwig. The Sonderbeauftragte made strong representations
to the Centrale for the non-compliance with their instruction.
On Friday, there arrived a group of Jewish Constabulary
from Sosnowiec under control of Goldminc and succeeded in
apprehending the missing girls, who hadn’t resonded to the
summonses. They took the girls or "Geisel" (hostage)
from family. Again, on this day, there arrived representatives
of the Sonderbeauftragte with a doctor and carried out examinations.
Girls not capable of working were released and the healthy
girls were taken away by train to the (Sosnowitz) Dulag
and from there to camp. In general, there were taken about
50 girls. On Thursday, February 26, 1942, about 30 girls
were brought from Szczakowa, These, too, were deported to
the Dulag, together with the girls from Jaworzno.
From 1941 it was forbidden for Jews to walk on the main
street Jagiellonska street (Kattowitzer strasse) in Jaworzno,
although Jews owned shops on this street. There wasn’t Jewish
disctrict in Jaworzno. In May and June there were displaced
to Jaworzno part of Jews from Katowice, Chorzow, Siemianowice,
all together about 180-200 people. Displacement action from
former Silesia was done by order of Gestapo. It was organized
and done on the cost the Jewish Centrale. Jews took with
them clothes and even furniture. They took this by vehicles
paid by the Centrale. Those Jews were placed among Jews
The Aeltestenrat in Jaworzno organized a kitchen, which
gave about 200 dinners daily for a little money. There was
active also kindergarten for 40-50 Jewish children.
In 1942, there was organized by the Centrale a course for
teaching trades to Jewish youth (with the aim of diversification).
It was the work of the division Umschiechtung, a part the
Centrale, which was directed by Jozef Kozuch. The courses
included ironwork and a fancy goods course. About 25 boys
and girls attended the classes.
On May 30, 1942, there occurred the first deportation from
Jaworzno. One or two weeks earlier, the Centrale had sent
circular notices to the Äeltestenrat in Jaworzno stating
that, within the area of Ostoberschlesien, a certain portion
of the Jewish population would be deportated. The notices
told exactly what every person should take with himself.
There were mentioned: clothes, underwear, bedding, soap,
flash-lights, hammers, nails, utensils, candles, pails and
On Saturday, May 30, 1942 at 10 o'clock, while Jews were
praying, there arrived about 8-10 large vehicles with German
police in helmets and full armament. They stayed in the
middle of the square. On the way, they set guards on the
all exit points of the town. There were among them Gestapo
civilians. The Aktion was directed by the Gestapo person
- Kroszan - wearing civilian clothes.
The Germans surrounded the town. They separated into groups
and began the Aktion. Each group had own area. They stopped
and took Jews whom they met on the street and directed to
an Assembly Point, which was located in the middle of the
market square (Rynek). Then the police went from house to
house, from apartment to apartment and ordered all Jewish
residents to come to the market square with baggage. Within
an hour, there were already on the market square about 600-700
persons. Some of the people were at work and some remained
hidden. There wasn’t an exact search at this time. On this
day, there was also a deportation in Chrzanow and Trzebinia.
At 2 p.m., Merin and Czarna arrived by car. The Gestapo
set all the deportees into a column and led them to Sadowa
15 in front of the House of Prayer. Together with Merin,
there had come more than a dozen "Ordners" from
The Gestapo divided the people into two groups; Merin remained
near the first group and Czarna near the second group. I
was also among the assembled Jews. Each person came before
the Commission in which were the Gestapo people. Merin asked
each person if he/she were employed and the Gestapo people
then directed that person to a designated group.
There were three groups: nr 1 - for deportation, nr 2 -
for qualification by Sonderbeauftragte, nr 3 - remained
in home. If a husband were working and there were no small
children, then that person went to number 3. Young people
and healthy went to the #2 point. Old people and families
with children were sent tothe point 1.
In the group nr 1 were 400 Jews. In the group nr 2, Kuczynski,
who in the meantime had arrived, checked the group and took
about 20-25 men and women for Arbeitseinsatz. The rest,
he directed to the point nr 1. In all, there were 412 persons
Those people destined for deportation were locked in the
House of Prayer. Later, Freytag arrived and took the report.
He gave over the Jews locked in the House of Prayer to the
custody of the Jewish "Ordner" people from Sosnowiec
under management of Moszkowicz and made him responsible
for the total number of the persons. Those people were confined
until Monday, 5 a.m. On Monday, Merin came again and arranged
to hear complaints. He was able to free several women, whose
husbands were in camp.
On Monday, there arrived twenty-plus carts and wagons on
which old people and children had to ride. The rest of people,
the Gestapo set in a column and they were taken, in terrible
heat, on foot to Chrzanow -- a distance of 12 km. During
the transport, Kommissioner Dreier and other Gestapo people
were present. In Chrzanow, they were loaded into train wagons,
together with Jews deported from Chrzanow. In all, this
transport numbered about 3,000 Jews from Jaworzno and Chrzanow.
After this deportation, there remained about 1,200 Jews
In Szczakowa, there was only a liquidation deportation in
June 1942. After this deportation, it was planned to create
the ghetto, but in the meantime, a general deportation took
place on July 9, 1942. The action was done on Thursday.
On July 8, 1942, Wednesday, Merin arrived through Jaworzno
and ordered the preparation of a ghetto. He said that all
Jews had to appear tomorrow at the school square on Mickiewicza
street. He said that Jews in Jaworzno would remain and they
would work in the mines.
On July 8, the Jewish people of Jaworzno learned that, in
Chrzanow, an Aktion had taken place and many people had
been arrested. They were now afraid to appear at the designated
Assembly Point. On the following day, there appeared at
the Assembly Point in Jaworzno about 200 people.
When the Gestapo arrived, with Dreier as its head, and saw
that people hadn’t appeared, he asked the reason. Merin
said that people were certainly working. Dreier went to
the mine and it appeared that Jews on this day hadn’t come
to work. Then Dreier, after contacting Mayor Reder gave
the order that Jaworzno will now become Judenrein. He ordered
every one taken away.
Kuczynski selected about 20 people for Arbeitseinsatz and
the rest were taken by train to Chrzanow where they were
joined to the transport from there. There remained about
1,000 hidden Jews who, by themselves, moved to Chrzanow
and Sosnowiec. In Jaworzno, from July 9, 1942, there remained
two Jewish families at request of Director of the mine.
In all, these numbered 12 persons. One was was the only
glazier in the mine. They remained in Jaworzno until August
1943. Then they were joined to a Bedzin transport. They
were taken by wagon to Bedzin and deported.
When the Germans first invaded Jaworzno in 1939 military
authorities immediately put a forced contribution to the
Jewish population in amount of 30,000 zlotych. Upon the
request of the Jewish delegation, the sum was lowered to
10,000 zlotych because small number of Jewish population
was in the place.