"District of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski during the Second World War"

materials from the scientific conference, edited by WR Brociek

Ostrowiec Św. 1999

[in:] "Holocaust of the Jewish community of Ostrowiec Św. during the Second World War "Krzysztof Urbański

 

Researched and Edited in Polish by Wojtek Mazan. Translated from Polish with assistance of  Google translate.

The Polish article from Wojtek's blog can be found here.

District of Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski during the Second World War

page 65

According to the last census of Jewish communities in the Kielce Province, which was carried out in 1938 in Ostrowiec Św. 10,637 Jews lived, of which 1,005 were obliged to pay fees. In the official nomenclature, the Ostrowiec commune was classified as the so-called large municipalities, where the Board and the Commune Council were elected (footnote 122 - State Archives in Kielce (hereinafter APK), Provincial Office of Kielce (UWK) reference number 3354.) According to the calculations of prof. R. Renz, at the outbreak of the war, the Jewish population of the city numbered 11,079 people, which constituted 36.9% of the total population (123 - Renz R., Jews in Ostrowiec in Poland reborn, [in:] Jews from Ostrowiec. History of History, Ostrowiec Św. 1996, p. 54.).

page 68
Occupants on a large scale began to create monopolies, which eliminated Jews from economic life. A state monopoly was introduced for trade in wood, coal, coke, cement, leather, textiles, matches, oil and oils, and finally even rags. [...]

As a result of such a policy, the number of trade and craft outlets run by Jews will be constantly decreasing. New companies are created sporadically. In 1940, the only company officially registered in Ostrowiec Św. by the German authorities is "Trade in Colonial and Food Commodities" by Lejzor Rosenfeldat ul. Tylna 7 (footnote 134 - "Mitteilungsblatt der Industririe- u. Handelskammer fur den Distrikt Radom" 1940, No. 10, p. 1).

page 69

In Ostrowiec Św. the occupants appointed a 12-person Judenrat. [...] As the "Gazeta Żydowska" wrote, the Judenrat's power came down to supplying people for forced housekeeping, directing Jews to labor camps, transferring contributions, providing German institutions with furniture and equipment, accepting transports of displaced persons. In addition, the Judenrat was obliged to keep records of the population, accommodation, organization of health and sanitation, food and fuel supplies. The Judenrat cooperated with the Jewish Social Self-Help in maintaining a home for the elderly, a hospital, an orphanage and the so-called People's Cuisine (footnote 140 - "Gazeta Żydowska" 1940, No. 32, p. 3).

In implementing the ordinance on January 24, 1940 on the obligation to report Jewish property, the Jewish Council in Ostrowiec Św. gave the German authorities the necessary assistance in registering the property of the Jewish population (footnote 141 - "Verordnungsbatt des Generalgouverneurs fur besetzen polnischen Gebiete" 1940, No. 7, p. 31). On separate blanks, both real estate were written: houses, yards, work workshops, as well as mobile ones. The Judenrat also kept a register of persons applying for financial aid. The latter census was later used to direct the poorest to various forced labor in the city, to the camps for labor and then to deportation. Detailed lists of people transported to Ostrowiec Św. By German authorities. In order to implement the imposed tasks, the Ostrowiec Judenrat was divided into the following departments: the Presidium, Budget, Tax, Legal-Administrative, Organizational, Labor, Social Welfare, Health, Registration and Schools. There was also an Arbitration Court arranging minor property conflicts between Jews.

One of the more serious problems faced by the Judenrat of Ostrów Wielkopolski was the problem of displaced persons. Already in December 1939, a transport of a thousand Jews displaced from Konin, Galina and Skulska in the Poznań county arrived in Ostrowiec Św. As A. Rutkowski writes: A later part of a thousand Jews from Poznań also was displaced to that city (footnote 142 - Rutkowski A., Martyrology, fight and extermination of the Jewish population in the Radom district during the Nazi occupation), "ŻIH Bulletin" 1955, No. 15-16, p. 89.). It should be added that since the beginning of the war there were refugees from Warsaw, Łódź, Kielce, Kraków and Radom. On March 13, 1941, a transport of Jews came to Ostrowiec from Vienna. It was the Viennese intelligentsia, merchants, financiers, doctors, musicians, and officials. They arrived in Pullman cars with considerable resources of cash and medicine. An additional transport was to provide them with suitcases with clothes and provisions for provisions. They did not know Yiddish, they could not find a common language with the local population. Interestingly, they were convinced that they would quickly return to their homeland. The Germans, by sending them to GG, ordered to buy return tickets (note 143 - I did not survive Letters from the Kielce ghetto, Translated edited by Gerda Hoffer, Jerusalem-California 1989.). They were people for whom finding themselves in Ostrowiec Św. was already a shock. In addition, in most cases, they could not work physically due to their age. They lived, therefore, from the sale of what they brought and parcels sent. When the money resources were over, the Ostrowiec Judenrat, in agreement with the German authorities, did everything to get them displaced from the city. They were transported to Klimontów Sandomierski, Kunów, Łagów, Waśniowa, Boksyc, Grzegorzewic and Częstocic. A. Rutkowski writes:The original plan to leave the Viennese in Ostrowiec Św. It was changed by a kreishauptman due to the intervention of the local Judenrat. The latter appropriated 5,000 thousand with the belongings of the Viennese, who arrived later to Ostrowiec Św. As a result of the indignation of the victims and the intervention of the Jewish Community in Vienna and the presidium of the JUS, the Poviat Committee for Jewish Social Mobility in Opatów was charged with dealing with the matter ... (note 144 - Rutkowski A, Martyrologia, p. 93.).

pages 72-73
On April 1, 1941, the Jewish Order Service (Judischer Ordnungdienst) was established in Ostrowiec Św. [...] As is evident from preserved memories over time, the Jewish police gained worse and worse opinion among the countrymen over time, for faithful execution of the occupant's orders. As H. Hamer testified before the execution of Poles on September 30, 1942, a group of Jews supervised by the Polish People's Army were forced to build a gallows and help in execution (note 149 - District Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish Nation (hereinafter OKBZpNP) in Kielce, Hand-held investigation files on the crimes committed by the Nazis in the area of ​​Ostrowiec, reference number 40/67, vol. II, p. 99.).

pages 73-76
[...] At the same time, [July 1941] the removal of Jewish shops from the main streets was ordered and the Jews were forbidden to enter certain streets and roads. Among others, it was forbidden to move along the Końskie-Starachowice-Ostrowiec Św.-Opatów road (note 152 - "Amtsblatt des Chefs des Distrikts Radom im Generalgouvernement" 1941, No. 9, p. 133). Any insubordination threatened death or a concentration camp. At the turn of May and June 1941, the Gestapo officer Peter on the street of Sandomierska killed Jakub Stachelberg(note 153 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, handhel files ... reference number 40/67, vol. IV, c. 4). They were murdered in police custody and the Gestapo building. In the police building, the Goldwasser family was murdered, in the Gestapo building, Szaja Cukier in February 1943, the Gestapo Bavnner and Lannge at ul. Iłżecka shot eight Jews.

The ghetto in Ostrowiec Św. was established in April 1941 [...] We find an excellent description of the Ostrowiec ghetto in the Jewish newspaper"Gazeta Żydowska". The description refers to the final months of 1941: The Ostrowiec municipality is one of the largest Jewish clusters in the Radom District. The Jewish Council in Ostrowiec Św., at the head of which is the president I. Rubinstein, develops a wide activity in all branches of social life of the Jewish population of Ostrowiec Św. The Council's greatest concern is to help the poor and displaced people in the city. Direct supervision of these matters is provided by social welfare headed by P. adviser Kleiner. 8,000 people use Social Care, 2,000 people receive lunches from the local People's Kitchen for 10 and 20 gr. for a dinner consisting of a soup and a piece of bread. In addition to the People's Kitchen there is also a Łódź cuisine, partly fed by the Council. The child-care campaign for 150 children is on a large scale. They receive breakfasts and dinners. These children also benefit from cultural and medical care. For the winter, the Women's Committee organized a collection of clothes for children. Beneficiaries of Social Welfare are also entitled to use medical and sanitary care. In the area of ​​Ostrowiec Św. before the war, there was no Jewish hospital. At present, a hospital with an infectious, internal and obstetrical departments under the supervision of Dr. Majer was installed. Patients who belong to Social Welfare have use of the hospital treatment free of charge. At the hospital there is also an Infirmary, providing advice and medicines, belonging to Social Care for a fee of PLN 0.50. For the winter, the Jewish Council prepared 1,000 pairs of wooden clogs for the poorest distribution, 100 of which were given to workers working in various institutions. The Jewish population received 50 kg of potatoes per person for the winter. The Department of Labor currently provides about 500 workers a day to various facilities. These workers are paid and receive dinners. The order and peace in the Jewish quarter is maintained by a Jewish Security Guard. The Arbitration Court settles all disputes between Jews. Their judgments are then approved by the Town Court. The Jewish Council owes its fruitful activity to its great leadership and selfless work. (note 157 - "Gazeta Żydowska" 1942, no. 13.). However, when reading this information, it must be remembered that the "Jewish Gazette" was issued with the consent of the German authorities and no critical remarks were posted.

[...]

It is true that the ghetto was guarded, but that does not mean that it was fully isolated. There was a Post Office with telephones, letters from other ghettos were received fairly regularly, and the Viennese received parcels from almost all of Europe. There was contact with ghettos in Warsaw, Kielce, Radom and Sandomierz (note 158 - Ringelblum E., Chronicle of the Warsaw Ghetto, Warsaw 1983, p. 328.). E. Ringelblum wrote in October 1941: I heard from someone who returned from Ostrowiec St. that the Jews were employed there by the Germans in large factories. Representatives of the Hashomer Hatzair and Dror organizations came from Warsaw, including two legendary liaisons, Chaja Grosman and Frumek Płotnicka.

pages. 77-81
[...] in April 1942, the German authorities carried out an action in GG [...] aimed at eliminating people who could call for resistance to the occupiers [...]. In Ostrowiec Św. on April 28, 1942, the SS unit raided Iłżecka, Sienkiewicza and Stodolna Streets, murdering 36 people, including: Alter Grynberg, Szlome Kalcenelenbogen, Icek Kudłowicz with his wife, Chaim Sztajna, and Ludwik Wacholder. Seventy-two people were sent to Auschwitz.

Liquidation of the Jewish quarter in Ostrowiec Św. as part of the famous "Einsatz Reinhard" began on the night of October 11, and October 12, 1942. [...] Jewish police were ordered to expel everyone to the Market Square. [...] Here, everyone was divided into three groups, the first to work on the spot, the second to be displaced, and the third to be liquidated. The last group were mainly the elderly and children. [...] In total, around 1,000 people were killed during the operation. According to B. Pancer's memories, 1570 people were left to work. About 11,000 have been allocated for displacement. [...] B. Pancer in the relation left in the Archive of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw wrote: ... a branch of Lithuanians with the JVB armbands entered the Jewish district [...]on the sleeves. They shot everyone they found in hiding. With particular sadism, they murdered children (note 166 - AŻIH in Warsaw, Relationship collection, B. Pancer, reference number 301/4954). According to K. Kalemberg, among others, the 11-person Lewensztajn family, owners of a small tannery (note 167 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, Investigative files ..., reference number 40, vol. II, pp. 143-44).
[...]

Another displacement action that led to the final liquidation of the ghetto in Ostrowiec Św. took place on April 10, 1943 (note 172 - Encyclopaedia Judaica, Jerusalem 1974, p. 1517).
[...]

The camp at Ostrowieckie (Herman Goring Werke) founded on April 1, 1943 (note 173 - OKBZpNP in Kielce), the investigation files on Nazi crimes in the labor camp for Jews in Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, reference number 15, is connected with the martyrdom of the Jews from Ostrowiec. / 68, k. 4.). Among the population of Ostrowiec Św. it was popularly called "Juden Lager". The camp from the eastern side adjoined the Ostrowiec plant, from the west side to the siding of the railway track belonging to the "Częstocice" sugar factory. On the south side there were agricultural wastelands, from northern workers' land. The area was surrounded by barbed wire, and special boards forbade entering its area. [...]

68 guards were in charge of the works and the camp (note 174 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, Investigative files ..., reference number 15/68, code 28). The commander of the Werkschutz was initially Hitler's Rhode, and then the former captain of the Austrian army Josef Zwierzyn, Goldicz also had a lot to say (note 175 - Main Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish Nation, Files of the District Court in Radom, Non-local Department, reference number WK 39/48, it concerns RJA Zwierzyny case.). [...] The guards were Ukrainians, commanded by non-commissioned officers Habura and Philip (note 177 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, Investigative records regarding crimes committed during the Second World War in Zakłady Ostrowieckie, reference number 15/68, cod. 60). The camp also preserved the remains of the Jewish police, led by Blumenfeld.

J. Zwierzyn particularly ill-treated the Jews imprisoned in the camp. He had an office in the building of the Human Resources Department of the ironworks and was in constant contact with the Gestapo. As T. Zalctregier, M. Cukierfajnand M. Brukier testified,Captain Zwierzyn issued orders to execute the Zachczyński brothers, Kopla and Mojżesz SztajnówMośka Gutman and Grynberg (note 179 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, Investigative files ..., reference number D 15/68, copy 16).

p. 81

In the spring of 1944, the conditions in the camp improved, because more effective work for the Wehrmacht was counted. Even the bathhouse and the emergency room were started, and agreed to medical assistance by Peder, Józef Kleinberger and Nachman Altman. In Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, memories of Dr. J. Kleinberger, who came here from Radom, have survived:
The camp was behind barbed wires. Nearly 3,000 people lived there. There was unheard-of dirt in the barracks, so the typhus was spotting and there was a heavy harvest here. The sick were in a small camp hospital, where soon a doctor's job was assigned to me. I had to keep a list of diseases there, but I did not give typhus, as it threatened to liquidate them. They were treated secretly [...]. Drugs and provisions for feeding the sick came from the Joint from Cracow. Packages of vitamins, milk, fats and cocoa were sent by the Joint packsages. One day a German medical school came to see the hospital. Among other things, a doctor - a German specialist in epidemic diseases - came. The situation was dangerous. It was necessary to conceal the outbreak of typhoid fever at all costs. We left the sicker patients before the commencement of the committee. They were just lightly ill people, without the rash typifying typhus. The committee arrived. I showed them around the hospital. When asked about the doctors regarding the sick, I replied that they were recovering from pneumonia, that they were so miserable in their exhaustion of the disease, their general exhaustion. I was reminded of my stay at the camp in Ostrowiec by a hospital paramedic named Gutholz. He was a fugitive from the transport of death to Treblinka. Extremely conscientious at work, he nursed the sick with all devotion. He always said that the Germans would not take him alive. When they were called to Auschwitz - it was in the first days of August 1944 - he escaped. However, he was caught and brought back to the camp. From the window of the hospital barrack, I saw two Ukrainian guards escort Gutholz and put him in front of the commandant[...]. A commander's revolver fired during the struggle. The shot punctured his cloak. Finally, he managed to dismiss Gutholz and shoot him. In the meantime, the guards began a disorderly shooting, the victims of which were several prisoners (note 182 - Yad Vashem Jerusalem, J. Kleinberger, Zeznanie, reference number 03/828, pp. 5-6.).

pages 83-84

When at the turn of July and August 1944 the camp was liquidated, about 200 [prisoners] ran away to nearby forests, the rest of the people were loaded into 23 freight wagons and directed in an unknown direction. [...] When it turned out that the transport was going to Auschwitz, some took the risk of escaping. [...] Some who fled came back to Ostrowiec Św. falling into the hands of the Gestapo. In August 1944, Mordek Chipler, Icek Rubinstein, Wolf Menndlin, Weinwurcel, Fachler, Rapaport, Lieberman, Satin Zinger, Szyfra Wajnberg, Framer, Cukier, Fachler and Borenstajn were detained and imprisoned in the Gestapo. Their fate was different. A part survived and in the first days of January 1945 they were sent to concentration camps: Dietz shot a Jew, Fachler, Winkler Rapaporta and Lieberman [...]. Winkler led the cases of Jews, and at his order [...] executions were carried out on Jews (note 187 - OKBZpNP in Kielce, Pope file, reference number 40/67, vol. IV, pp. 81-82.). The watchmaker's board was also shot. During the investigations conducted after the war, it was stated that the crimes were carried out mainly by Dietz, Winkler and Bravnner.

[...] the version is often repeated, also concerning Ostrowiec Św., that the Jews were willing to fight the Germans at the time when the final decision to liquidate the ghetto was made. E. Fąfara writes, also R. R. Renz: In the autumn of 1942 a group of young communists in the Ostrowiec ghetto: Maria and Dawid Szulman, brothers Gutman and Frudland prepared an armed intervention in case of displacement of Jews from this city. Their plans were thwarted by the Judenrat (note 188 - Fąfara E., Gehenna ..., p. 558).