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Liquidation of the Ghetto

The liquidation of the ghetto in Bodzentyn took place in the middle of September, 1942. It was a direct effect of the so-called fahrplananordnung nr 587 that was sealed and dated in Krakow 15 September, 1942.

21th/22th of September was the High Holy Day season – the ten "Days of Awe" that commence with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In normal times, Jews would have honored the season by outfitting themselves in new clothes and eating apples dipped in honey — symbolic of wishes for a sweet year to come. In the fall of 1942 the Nazis would not have it that way: The German gendarmerie motored into town, doors were banged on, all of the Jewish men, women and children were rushed to the lower market square. With the assistance of peasants and their horse-drawn wagons the entire Jewish community was taken to Suchedniów, and there they were loaded on trains that took them to the extermination camp at Treblinka. Afterwards goods and valuables were collected from the houses, and hideouts discovered and emptied — everything and everyone was delivered to the executioners.

A local painter in Bodzentyn by the name Józef Fafarski depicted the dreadful act of the ghetto’s liquidation in one of his paintings. Photo adapted from the original.
© Bodzentyn.net | Photo of painting: courtesy of the Dawid Rubinowicz Society | Photo of the lower marketplace, Rynek Dolny: courtesy of Archiwum Państwowe w Kielcach (State Archive in Kielce), 21-664-sygn. 113.

An eyewitness recalls: "The alarm started at 8 am. The bells were ringing, the gendarme and the Jewish police went from house to house, where the Jews lived, and belched the luckless people from their flats. [...] The sick, the elderly, the decrepit and children were carried out on their backs by their family members. Together with the Jews from Slupia Nowa they were taken […] to Suchedniów."

On the very Day of Atonement the Jews of Bodzentyn, and the refugees from Płock that were lodged in the ghetto, were brought to their death in the extermination camp at Treblinka.
© Photo adapted from the original by Bodzentyn.net | Photo of railway track: courtesy of Yad Vashem.

The chapter “Suchedniów” from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin reads: "On the morning of September 22, 1942, the eve of Yom Kippur, […] German and Polish guards surrounded the ghetto [in Suchedniów]. The members of the Jewish police were commanded to take the Jews from their homes and transport them to the market square. The concentration of the deportees and the searching of the houses began at dawn and lasted until the late afternoon. A selection [took] place in the market square, and the Jews who were fit for work were sent to Skarzysko Kamienna. The rest, some 3,000 people, were forced onto cramped transport trains and transported to the Treblinka death camp."

In 1942 a letter sent back to Warszawa from Bodzentyn confirms that the Jewish community is no more.
© Bodzentyn.net, a copy of this envelope is found in Pamiętnik Dawida Rubinowicza (1960).

After World War II the former residences of Jews were considered to be vacant and the state assigned these apartments and houses to citizens in need of housing, without regard to the properties legal ownership status. This practice was called prescription.

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