Nazi Criminal: Zwiezhina

From the article The Hunt for Criminals, Yizkor Book of Ostrowiec, editor: Gershon Silberberg, Meir Shimon Geshuri, 1971, page 478

Nazi Criminal: Zwiezhina

On June 8, 1946, the Ostrowiec unit of the General Committee of the Polish Jews sent the following remarks to the Vienna chief of police, about the activities of the “stabskapitan” [“staff captain”] Zwiezhina in Ostrowiec in the time of the German occupation:

“The person mentioned here, during the time of the Hitler occupation, held the position of chief of security in the Ostrowiec factories where there were 9,000 workers employed, of which were 2,000 interned Jews. The treatment of the arrested Jews was bestial. Their food consisted of one portion of watery soup, no bread, after an 18-hour work day. All the personal belongings of the Jewish internees were taken away, and they slept on the naked earth of rotting barracks. Aside from there, there were constant searches of Jews, which ended in killing several of the Jews without reason. In November 1942, Zwiezhina shot the following Jews: 1) Gutman, 25 years old, a Hebrew poet; 2) Zalman Greenberg, 20 years old; 3) an unknown Jew from Krakow. At the next search, the two Zakhcinski brothers, ages 18 and 25, were shot. It is worth noting, that the chief of the Ostrowiec Gestapo, Winkler, stated that Zwiezhina, without any right, shot two young boys saying that they had hidden foreign currency. He [Winkler] had asked him [Zwiezhina] to spare their lives, but he replied: “An order is an order!” And then he commanded that the death sentence of these two innocent brothers be carried out.

On November 7, 1943, he sent out 50  young Jews to their death in the camp “Firlej” near Radom. The other victims of his bestial murders were the Kupel brothers and Moshe Shtein. The list of Zwiezhina’s murders is [to be] further expanded. At the time of the government hearings, we will present more lists of his murderous killings. We admit that during the Red Army liberators approached Ostrowiec, the murderer interrupted his vacation time and he did not respect the regulations of the German government organizations. He surrounded the camp with Ukrainian police, and evacuated about 2,000 Jews from there, 90% of whom were exterminated. In Ostrowiec, it is known that Zwiezhina comes from the Sudetenland, spoke Polish, Czech, and German well. According to information received, he was captured by the Viennese police. We ask that Zwiezhina be brought to Ostrowiec, where there are witnesses who can help in a way that the criminal will get his rightful punishment.”

From the article Ostrowiec Hangman, Zwiezhina, Sentenced to Death by Aharon Fridental, Yizkor Book of Ostrowiec, editor: Gershon Silberberg, Meir Shimon Geshuri, 1971, page 479

Nazi Criminal: Zwiezhina

Several days ago, and before the Radom cross-examination in Ostrowiec, the trial took place, of the chief of staff, Captain Zwiezhina, liquidator of the Jewish population in Ostrowiec.

During the time of the occupation, the accused managed the camp “Zakladi Ostrowieckie” [“the Treasure of Ostrowiec”] (the Germans changed the name to “Hermann Goerring Works”). He was directly responsible for the killings of 2,000 Jews in the above-mentioned camp.

In October 1942, this murderer, with the goal of terrifying the Jewish population in Ostrowiec so that they would give over their monies and valuables, selected three victims and shot them on the spot.

In November 1943, the accused sent 45 Jews out of Ostrowiec to the camp Firlej near Radom, where they were all killed.

In March 1944, during a house search, the murderer shot the two Zakhcinski brothers.

It is interesting to note a particularly cruel act that the accused did: During work time, a Jewish young boy was injured by a machine that cut off his legs. They quickly took him to the hospital, where Dr. Dreves operated immediately. But the operation was interrupted by Zwiezhina, who intentionally sent in a Ukrainian SS man, with the order to remove the wounded boy. He was immediately taken to the local cemetery where he [the boy] was shot…

Zwiezhina went to Vienna, where, in the year 1946, he was recognized by several Ostrowiec Jews, who helped get him arrested. But he was able to escape successfully.

In the year 1947, he was recognized in Munich by some Ostrowiec Jews, and they arrested him immediately. Finally, he was returned to the Polish government officials.

The plaintiff in the trial was prosecutor Sokol; defendant – Zapolski; trial chairman [judge] – Savicki. As witnesses or the trial, there were: Shamai Kudlowycz, Itche Meir Birenzweig, Pintche Langer, Chaim Langer, and the author of these lines. The witnesses recounted the “good deeds” of the accused, and uncovered the entire, horrifying tragedy of the Jewish population in Ostrowiec during the occupation.

After the trial, Zwiezhina was sentenced to death and to lose all public and civil rights.

“Dos Neue Leben” [“The New Life”], Warsaw, September 28, 1948.