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The Ghetto

On the 22nd of February 1941, Kadner, the then representative of the city chief, sent to Dr. Lash, the chief of the Radom District, two plans for arranging a ghetto for Jews in Czenstochow. The first plan provided for a surrounding fence of brick with iron and barbed wire. It also required 14,000 workdays; this was connected with a cost of 190,000 zlotys. The second plan provided a wooden surrounding fence with iron and barbed wire, for which was demanded 7,000 workdays and this was connected with a cost of 120,600 zlotys. Kadner based these plans on a specially worked out plan of the 15th of February 1941 from the municipal construction office.[32]

On the 29th of March 1941, a Dienstbesprechung [official meeting] took place at [the office of the] chief of the Radom District, Dr. Lash, with the county chiefs of the Radom District, at which Lash reported about the “thorough and energetic preparations to attack the Soviet Union” and simultaneously announced that on the 5th April 1941 the entire Radom District had to carry out a Judenaktsia” [action against the Jews] of creating a Jewish “residential area.[33] On the same day the Judenrat also reported that on the basis of the order of the regime the following streets had become prohibited to the Jewish population: Alee from house number 26 on the even side and 27 on the odd side and higher, Kosciuszko Street, Kilinski Street, Waszyngton Street, the entire even side of Alee-Wolnosci, Pilsudski Street and Sobieski Street.[34]

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On the 9th of April 1941 a decree from the city chief, Dr. Wendler, was published about a closed residential district for Jews. This edict was printed on large red placards and directed: “On the 9th of April 1941 I order the creation of a closed residential quarter for Jews which includes the following streets: Wilson Street from number 14 to 22 and from 34 to 54; Kawia Street from number 1 to 17 and 21 to 43; Krakowska – from number 1 to 9 and from 2 to 12; Krotka Street except number 16; Garibaldi Street, Berka Joselewicza Street; the first Alee from number 2 to 12 and from 1 to 11; Dazcinski Square except number 8; Orlicz-Dreszer Street from number 2 to 12 and from 1 to 13; Katedralna – from number 4 to 18 and from 3 to 17; Narutowicz Street from number 2 to 14 and from 3 to 11; Strazacka – from number 1 to 19 except number 3; Przesmyk – from number 2 to 4 and number 3; Targowa from 8 to 14 and from 1 to 25; all of Nadrzeczna Street, Mirowska – from 1 to 11 and from 4 to 12; all of Garncarska Street except number 1, the old market, Rinek Warsawski, Senatorska, Koczospadek, Mostowa, Ptusza and Przemyslowa.” It says further in the edict that the movement of all of the Jews into the enumerated streets and the withdrawal of the Poles from the mentioned streets would last until the 17th of April. The Jews who do not carry out the edict during the designated term will be deported from the city and will not have the right to take more than 25 kilos of baggage each. The Poles who live in the designated ghetto streets will be withdrawn by force and will not have the right to take more than 25 kilos each with them.[35] The number of Polish families that needed to withdraw from the ghetto reached 255, which numbered 3,309 souls.[36]

On the 17th of April 1941 the Jewish policemen, who were placed at all of the border points of the ghetto, did not let out any Jews from it without written permission from the German regime organs. Even the members of the Judenrat had to show such permission when crossing the border points of the ghetto.[37] However, the complete closing of the ghetto was drawn out until the 23rd of April 1941.

On the 23rd April 1941, posts with large yellow panels with the inscriptions turned to the ghetto in German, Polish and Hebrew were erected at several border points: “Closed residential district. Death penalty for leaving ghetto.” It is not known exactly how many Jews were in Czenstochow then. According to what was provided by the Division of Evidence and Statistics of the Judenrat, officially there were 32,744 Jews.[38]

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According to an attached note to Wendler's decree (written by hand), 2,100 Jewish families that numbered 9,600 souls and 35 non-Jewish family members had to move into the ghetto. According to the same note there were then 35,591 declared Jews and 1,500 undeclared. At that time in the circle of the Judenrat there was talk that during the creation of the ghetto, there were almost 40,000 Jews. So about 40,000 Jews were pushed into the poorest city quarter.

* * *

For the Jews, moving through the ghetto streets was connected with pain and insults. Many Germans, mainly military men, would come into the ghetto in order to observe the “amazing sight.” Jews received blows for “impertinence” in walking on the sidewalks, for not taking off their hats for a German. It was never known how it was best to act in order to avoid blows.

On the 25th of April 1941 the city chief (probably at the intervention of the Judenrat) turned to the military commandant [indicating] that “soldiers are taking pleasure in strolling in the ghetto.” … “This running around the ghetto from pure curiosity” – he wrote in this application – “is not only unworthy, but also dangerous and, therefore, it is forbidden.”[39] Four days later, the 29th of April, the commandant alerted the soldiers that because of the threatening danger of contagion from a typhus epidemic only servants were permitted to enter the ghetto.[40] The plague of “curious” visitors did not end.

On the 4th of May 1941 the city chief received a demand from Radom to present a detailed report of the ghetto created for Jews up to the 10th of May.[41] A detailed report came from Wendler, which covers six sides of typewritten pages about the matter, how he assembled the ghetto. Among other things, he praises himself: “…the typhus epidemic that was brought here with the last Jewish transport (he meant the Plocker and Bodzanower – L.B.), is at an end. I believe that there will be no new cases if I am not sent any further repugnant transport, totally lousy and dirty Jews sent to the city because those other county and city chiefs do not want to take them.[42]

The Jews from various cities also came to the enclosed ghetto. According to the order of the city chief of the 5th of August 1941, the result was that on the 1st of July 941 of the general number of the Czenstochow population, which then was made up of 164,567 [people], there were 37,667 enrolled Jews.[43]

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According to the statement of the magistrate, 37,371 food cards for Jews were given out at the end of 1941. In the same statement it was noted that for various reasons up to 20 percent of the Jews were not registered and did not received food cards.[44] According to this, it appears that there were more than 40,000 Jews in Czenstochow at the end of 1941. Therefore, the crowdedness in the ghetto was felt not only in the residences, but also in the streets. On orders from the Germans, the Jewish police began to be occupied with regulating the movement in the ghetto alleys. They chased the small traders who mainly consisted of the young and children; they did not permit gathering in the streets; they did not allow sitting on the benches in the part of the First Aleje that belonged to the ghetto and, in the evenings, dispersed those strolling. A curfew was added to this that always was earlier for the Jews than for the non-Jewish population in the city. Every night, before the designated curfew, the Jewish police began to chase them from the streets and then the horse drawn ambulance of the Schutzpolizei [“protection police”] would appear. The gendarmes started chasing after the Jews across the ghetto streets like dog beaters. Every Jew who was not in his house by then was dragged into the ambulance and taken to be guarded at a “place for the night.” In the morning, those caught had to pay a penalty and then were sent to work.

The ghetto was located on the east side of the city. This region was connected to the suburbs of Zawodzie and Rakowa from the center of the city. The Polish population, which lived in these suburbs, therefore had to walk through the ghetto and this permitted Jews to maintain contact with the Poles, which the German Police Directorate could not bear. On the 11th of August 1941 the German Police Directorate turned to the city chief with a proposal that a notice board be placed on the outside in German and Polish at all border points of the ghetto, without exception, with the inscription: “Yidisher Wohnbezirk [Jewish Residential Area], non-Jews are forbidden to remain in this residential area. Violations will be severely punished.” Understand that the city chief agreed with a provision that only the word Zeichen-Gefahr [sign of danger] should appear on the board.[45] On the 15th of August 1941, 30 such signs were erected at all of the border points of the ghetto and no Poles were allowed to go through without special permission.

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However, in order for the Poles who lived in the suburbs of Zawodzie and Rakowa to be able to have a connection to the city center, Strazacka Street and a part of Katedralna were cut off from the ghetto, and they connected to the city center from the streets that bordered on the named suburbs. However, the decreased ghetto area became thickly populated with almost 1,500 Jews who again lost the roofs over their heads.[46]

On the 24th of December at the start of the evening, Germans in uniforms and civilian clothing attacked the ghetto streets and without a reason beat every Jew that they met. Jews who wore fur coats or coats with fur collars had to take them off in the street and then they were allowed to go home. The account of the fur coats immediately spread through the ghetto and the people arranged a “night watch.” We sat the entire night behind firmly closed doors and curtained windows and released with the smoke [burned] old inherited furs, silver foxes, expensive otter collars, as well as new modern Persian lamb and skunk coats. Not all Jews knew that they should burn everything, not all Jews wanted to burn the furs because they believed that they would be left with something. Early in the morning the Judenrat announced that by virtue of the decree of the regime all of the Jews must give up their furs and every piece of fur that they possessed. The Judenrat also received an order from the city chief that it needed to gather the fur goods and to engage Jewish artisans at its own expense, who were to renovate and adapt the furs to the needs of the German army. Many Jews hid their furs in attics and cellars and even buried them. Several made connections with Polish acquaintances and smuggled out the furs; others sold their furs for groshns. There were also those who were not very worried about this decree and believed that the edict about taking the furs would pass and they could be used later. There were several who failed to obey in the last cases, for which they paid with their lives. The Oberleutnant [lieutenant colonel] of the gendarmerie, Frankowski, who came from the Poznan area, was in charge of the action of confiscating the furs from the Jews. There were three large rooms filled with confiscated furs. The rooms were locked and guarded by the Jewish police until the prominent men chose the most expensive and the nicest furs for themselves, for their lovers in Czenstochow itself and for their wives and children somewhere in Germany. The Judenrat had to organize Jewish furriers who remodeled the remaining furs according to the instructions of the city chief.

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Thus, new blows that upset and made life repugnant came all the time. The blows came often and were even more exact. However, we became accustomed to each affliction. We shook off each precise blow and again pulled the heavy, cruel wagon of life, waiting full of agitation about what morning would bring.

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Forced Labor

The Judenrat had to provide a certain number of workers and tradesmen for various platzowkes [temporary labor camps] every day. In addition, Jews were caught in the street and taken away for various labor and Jews also would be removed from their residences for the same purpose. The labor office was created at the Judenrat at the end of 1939 so that it could direct this matter.

On the basis of the ordinance of the general governor on the 26th of October 1939 about the forced labor for Jews, the city chief demanded on the 9th of March that all Jews (as well as converts to Christianity), who were born in the years 1914 to 1923 inclusively register with the Judenrat..[47] On the 2nd of April 1940 came a second demand signed by Wendler that those Jews born in the years 1879 to 1925 also must register..[48] On the 11th of May 1940 a decree from the city chief's office was again published, signed by Kadner, that the summoning of Jews for forced labor had begun..[49] In July 1940 the German labor office, making use of the 10 Jewish officials, took over the organization of forced labor of the Jews. This office then had in its possession the files of all of the Jews aged from 12 to 60..[50] The labor office that existed at the Judenrat was subjugated to the German labor office. The illusion of the Judenrat that the Jewish division for forced labor would control the chaotic situation of grabbing people in the streets and would alleviate the situation was quickly turned upside down because this division was simply converted into a work branch of the German office in the city and from time to time the Judenrat and its labor office sent out the Jewish police across the ghetto in order to provide the number of Jewish workers demanded by the Germans.

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During the course of both periods of registration, 8,330 men registered. Among the registrants were men who had no children – 38.3 percent; fathers of only one child – 32.7 percent; fathers who had two children – 19.1 percent; the remaining had three, four, five, six, seven and eight children. There were six fathers of seven children and one father of eight children, who was 39 years old..[51] The registered were divided into six groups: merchants, traders, manufacturers, unqualified workers, students and private officials were counted in the first group; artisans in the second group; building workers, water installers, concrete workers, bricklayers, painters, tinsmiths and so on in the third group. Agricultural workers and gardeners in the fourth group; doctors, lawyers, teachers in the fifth; technicians with higher education in the sixth. The general total of the registration was the following: merchants – 50.4 percent; artisans – 40.96 percent; free professions [medicine, law] – 3.97 percent; building artisans – 2.67 percent; agricultural workers – 1.07 percent and technicians – 0.93 percent..[52] All of those perfectly capable of working were 64.3 percent; less capable – 22.5 percent. The largest number of the healthy were in the third and fourth groups..[53]

The first time the workers were sent to forced labor at the local platzowkes. There were 120 such workplaces. The largest platkowkes were: German Police, swimming pool and sport place, city chief's office, military, German school, railroad, city hall, Polish police, delousing institution, airport, district administrator's office, immigration central, municipal theater and post office. At the beginning everyone had to work one day a week. Those who wanted to be freed from the work had to pay four gildn for the day of work. No one was supposed to provide a substitute on his own. The labor office of the Judenrat chose substitutes from among those who presented themselves for work for the purpose of earning money. Such workers received 24 zlotys for six days of work a week, from which four zlotys were subtracted for the other day of the week that had to be given for forced labor. The motivation for this action by the Judenrat was that each must carry identical duties..[54] Each received an order on the designated workday on which it was shown: when, where, at what time and with which work tools the given person had to appear. Because of the great and growing need, the labor office of the Judenrat gave notice for more Jews for paid work as demanded by the German labor office. For this reason, no difficulties were made for those who wanted to pay for their day of forced labor. .[55]

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On average, in 1940, 2,624 forced laborers were employed, in 1941 – 4,798 and from the 15th of December 1941 to the 22nd of September 1942, 7,595 men were employed daily for forced labor in the local platzowkes.

Besides providing workers for the platzowkes in Czenstochow itself, the Judenrat had to provide a certain number of workers for the labor camps of Przyrów (near Czenstochow), Cieszanow and Wereszyn (near Lublin). Three hundred Jewish workers, who had to regulate the river there and drain the swamps, were sent out to Przyrów in June 1940..[56] Everyone who had been chosen by the Jewish labor office to be sent out to Przyrów had an order that asserted: “Order to forced labor in the water management committee. On the basis of the decree of the 26th of October, 1930, you are ordered to report at the assembly place on Pilsudski Street, nos. 13-15, 5:30 in the morning. They must take a blanket, a pillow, a spoon, a deep dish and a cup with them.” It was signed by the Jewish Forced Labor Command. This group of 300 men consisted of men from 18 to 35. They lived in the synagogues and barracks; they worked for 10 hours a day and received food three times a day. In the morning, up to 30 deka [10 units] of bread and coffee; a little cooked food during the day. The first transport of workers was held in Przyrów for two months; after this term, because of the need, a number voluntarily remained longer and the number that was lacking was up to 300 men. The Jewish labor office again provided them by force..[57] At first the security service strongly mistreated the workers. They would beat everyone who appeared under them as they worked. The workers were forced to sing while marching to and from work. Little by little they succeeded in making the hearts of the guards “softer” with [the payment of] money and life in that camp became bearable. The Jewish residents of Przyrów also did everything to ease the life of those forced laborers, helping them with food and arranging better living conditions.

At the beginning of August 1940, the Judenrat was ordered to present 1,000 workers to be sent to Wereszyn and Cieszanow (Lublin area) for the labor camps there. The first transport consisted of 450 men, the second – of 460. Both transports consisted of men up to 30 years of age..[58] The transports were taken to Lublin in freight wagons accompanied by gendarmes.

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In Lublin, they were surrounded by members of the S.S. who immediately treated them with blows when they climbed out of the wagons and they were taken to barracks in which there already were thousands of Jews from other cities. During the march to the barracks, those accompanying those who were taken from the transport removed one of them and placed a brass fireman's hat on his head, gave him a trumpet and ordered him to march in front and play. Everyone marching after him had to sing based on his rhythm. After this, the entire transport of Jews from Czenstochow who were there earlier were taken to the barracks in Belzec, where there were other transports of Jews and Gypsies. From there, everyone again was driven on foot to Cieszanow. Mordekhai Lewkowicz, one of the survivors of this transport, relates: “…we had to run uphill, then we had to go downhill slowly. Whoever stopped on the road was shot immediately. We were driven into a building ruin in Ruskie Piaski, where dozen of Jews who had been shot lay. From there we were then driven on foot to Cieszanow, where we were yoked to murderous work…” In addition to the beatings during work, they bullied them after work. The members of the S.S. loved to create a “spectacle” during the work. They often would take someone out from among the workers and place a stick in his hand and force him to climb a tree. He had to direct with the stick from there. Every worker had to stand around the tree, look at the “director” and sing or moo like a cow. A certain German major, Dolf, would ride around on a horse every day among the crowd of workers, flogging them with a small whip, or shooting at each one who dared straighten his back or rest for a second. Lewkowicz (today he is a factory worker who lives in Czenstochow. He survived the Cieszanow labor camp) says “During the work we sometimes had to stand in water up to the waist and dig out sand from the ground with our bare hands. Once returning from the work, one of us, he was named Kohn, turned to the S.S. man who guarded our barracks, asking for permission to go out to take care of his natural needs. The other one smiled and gave permission. When Kohn stepped over the threshold, a shot from a rifle was heard. Kohn ran back in with a hand that had been shot through from which blood ran and he hid. At once, S.S. men arrived and began looking for the one who could no longer work. We cried and begged them to give him his life.

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Nothing helped. Kohn crawled out of his hiding place and himself cried and begged them to let him live because of his old mother. Nothing helped; he was dragged out of the barracks and shot. The same night three more Jews were shot. We were ordered to bury them and to place wooden crosses on their graves. In the morning, leading us to work, we were shot at. I do not know how many fell. A young man from Radom named Lipszic, who I later buried myself, fell next to me. Erev Sukkous [the eve of the Feast of Tabernacles] we were brought to Radom. From outside Radom, a number of us were sent back to a camp in Ostrow near Hrubieszow. I was among those sent back and fell into another, worse misfortune up to now. On the way, one of us committed suicide. In Ostrow we worked at draining the swamps, smoothing the roads and building highways. Once, a labor security service member forced us to bury alive a young man from Czenstochow, the son of Kawan, the war invalid. He was saved, by chance, by the arrival of some German accompanied by the chairman of the Hrubieszow Judenrat and Bernard Kurland of Czenstochow.”

We quickly learned in Czenstochow about the terrible situation of this deportation from the fathers and mothers who, risking their lives, followed their children. Meanwhile, a parents committee was created that began to provide food packages for the deported. The food packages would be given to the Jewish police and they would send the packages to the camps. Groups of parents and relatives of the deported besieged the Judenrat building daily, cried, pleaded, screamed and demanded the rescue of their children and parents; the office of the Judenrat was besieged with written pleas from parents that in this way cried out their pain. In a request to the Judenrat of the 14th of November 1940, a certain Fantofel wrote: “…I am tailor by trade, I am 83 years old and my wife is blind. We have been supported by our two sons: the 27-year old Avraham, a hairdresser, and the 20-year old Moshe, a locksmith. They were sent out with the first transport. Avraham was caught in the street when he came home from work. Our situation is catastrophic and without a way out. My son, Moshe, is very sick there and he is not permitted to go to the doctor's commission. He was very sick when he returned from Pryzow. Therefore, I turn with the fervent request that we be saved and that an effort be made that at least the sick Avraham should be freed.

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” The parents of those deported did not rest. They chose a delegation from among themselves that traveled on it own initiative to Cieszanow and Warsaw in order to do something for their children on the spot.

From day to day, the situation of the deported became worse. They fell from suffering; they fell from exhaustion, they fell because the work security service and the camp leader Dolf felt like playing with the prisoners. They died of dysentery and typhoid fever. Many, having nowhere else to turn, escaped from there. Parents and relatives were not satisfied with asking and making scenes at the Judenrat; they also were not satisfied with the lack of any great accomplishments by their delegation. Selling the last things they possessed, many of them, risking their own lives, went to the camps to ransom their children from the Germans. No satisfaction came from this and the scenes of the suffering of the fathers and mothers at the Judenrat kept being repeated. In a letter of the 22nd of November 1940 Dovid Borzykowski (member of the Judenrat presidium) wrote to the Judenrat messenger, Bernard Kurland: “…after having sent an earlier list of people as a result of the parents many time making scenes at the Judenrat, I concluded that this is useless. Yet, to calm them and assure them that I have written about their matters, I must prepare such a list. Alas, I must do the same thing now”…. [59] This letter affirms that although the Judenrat did try to do something for those who had been sent out, it was a result of individual efforts by the parents. In the same letter Borzykowski wrote further: “…with pain we must inform you that a large group again set off for Hrubieszow last night. Alas we could not stop this movement; we will take all necessary steps so that this abnormal situation ceases…” Efforts to hold in check the pressure at the Judenrat by the parents to save their children actually were weak. Several dozen workers were ransomed and brought home. However, a greater number remained. After two months of suffering in this camp that had swallowed dozens of victims, after efforts by the Judenrat, after superhuman efforts by the parents and relatives, they succeeded in extracting those remaining from this camp. However, on the return to Czenstochow, three wagons of workers were stopped and they were taken to Osow to another camp. As it turned out after this, the German administration of the Osow camp only freed the detained

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Jews from Radom from this camp for a large ransom. The bullying of the Jews in the Osow camp was still very terrible, as in the camps in the Lublin area. Several escaped from there, risking their lives both while escaping on the road home and arriving in Czenstochow and also being in Czenstochow where they were searched for as deserters from work, even before they arrived.

Avraham Pantofel, one of the poor Jewish workers upon whose fate it fell to take part in every misfortune that the edict of forced labor brought with it, and was also was taken to the labor camp in the Lubliner area, explains: “In Osow, we were held 70 men to a barrack. We got undressed to go to sleep on the first days, but when the 'wake-up calls' began and we were flogged terribly for even being a few minutes late, we began to sleep in our clothing and even in our boots. The “wake-up-calls” would come between two and three o'clock at night. As soon as we heard the scraping [shoes] of our hangmen, we had to go outside and stand in rows. As soon as everyone was standing, they began to chase us. We had to run in this way until five o'clock in the morning. At five o'clock we were given bread and coffee. No one could drink the coffee, but we used it to wash ourselves. We were full of lice. Each of us would go through the delousing on the open field while emptying ourselves of their natural needs; each one would then place his shirt, his pants and jacket in front of him and scrape off the lice from them. Our clothes were completely torn from the work and we did not receive any others. Therefore, we had to work naked and barefoot. Several went around completely naked, covered with something, a piece of rag on only the very front of the body. One, a certain Niedziela from Wielun, who did not have a piece of rag on him, went around completely naked. Our foreman, the Ukrainian Tarashenko, would keep us at work until late at night and at every opportunity he beat us. After work, each of us received a dish of soup. If Tarashenko caught someone with a second portion of soup, he forced him to take a pickaxe in his hand and spring like a frog with it.” Pantofel also said that in only one barrack, in which there were 70 men, more than 50 were sick with typhus. (Pantofel today lives in Czenstochow and works in a hairdresser cooperative.)

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It is a characteristic of the conditions in this camp that the municipal office of the Judenrat even indicated in the Rocznik Statystyczny [statistical yearbook]. On page 320 of this book is written among other things:

“…the working conditions at the new place, Osow, were much harder than previously in Cieszanow. We lay the Klinkowa highway in the marshes. The situation was even worse because the workers, exhausted from the two months of labor, did not have any strength for further work.”
The last group of workers, physically exhausted and sick, was freed during the second half of December and sent in groups of five to Czenstochow, where they again fell under the edict of forced labor.

On Yom Kippur 1940, the Germans under the leadership of state-inspector of education, residency and sport, Fritz Grieshammer, attacked the Jewish synagogues and drove the Jews in their talisim [prayer shawls] to the sports area on Pulawska Street where they had to work cleaning the sports area until late at night.

Jews Would Escape from the Collection Point

One case was when 76 of 82 captured Jews escaped and only six men remained. This was on the night of the 6th and 7th of June, 1941. The work office at the Judenrat received a demand that it provide a larger number of Jews who were being sent to Demblin to work. Jewish police caught 82 men and they guarded them in the house of prayer at Aleje no. 1. Those held knocked a hole in the wall of the women's synagogue to the courtyard and lowered themselves with a rope. This case so shocked the Judenrat that it created a special investigation that was led by Pohorille himself. Only six men, who with a heartache hoped for some kind of miracle, had not succeeded in escaping then… and they were sent away.[60]

At the end of August 1941, 1,400 men were caught and they were confined in the munitions factory in terrible conditions. The factory halls were too small for such a large number of men. Therefore, many did not have the “good fortune” to lie on the floor under a roof and had to lie on the bare earth at the factory location. A miserable “cattle trade” began.

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It drew money from the German control office, German gendarmes, the Jewish labor office, the leadership of the Jewish police and the Jewish and Polish police, who guarded the place. A certain number actually was freed by the money-taker; a second group was freed because their families provided substitutes. The substitutes were needy Jews who were ready to be sent out to difficult and dangerous work for a certain sum. they believed that with the money they received for this they could alleviate the need and hunger of their families and those closest to them.

Six hundred Jews who at the same time were held on Srebrna Street in seven old buildings found themselves in a similar situation. With the intervention of T.O.Z. [Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia – the Association for the Protection of Health, known as the Jewish Health Organization] and the German labor office about the danger of the threat of epidemics among those held in these collection points and after the constant written notices of the leader of the sanitary division of T.O.Z., Dr. Adam Walberg, about the same matter, those who did not have with what to be ransomed, were freed after they had been held there for three and a half weeks.

At the beginning of July 1942, Shabbos at around 11 in the morning, the Jewish police spread the dismal news all through the ghetto streets that all men aged 14 to 60 needed to appear at the square of the new market and in the First Aleje within half an hour. The ghetto became agitated. The men said goodbye to their wives and children. Grown children said goodbye to their old parents and to younger brothers and sisters. A cry carried through the streets: “May we return soon.” Thousands of Jews were drawn to the square. Almost everyone held some sort of paper in his hand that would testify that the possessor of it was employed at a “temporary labor camp.” No one had any luggage with him; he would not be sent away. The large square at the new market, the old market and the First Aleje were covered with Schutzpolizei [order police], members of the Gestapo and Granat-Policja [Blue Police – Polish police in the Nazi-occupied area of Poland known as the General Government] and also the members of the Judenrat and the Jewish policemen.

All of the assembled Jews stood in long rows, in groups according to the “temporary labor camp,” in which they were included. Higher police and members of the Gestapo controlled each group and the representatives of the Judenrat gave the Germans various information.

[Page 34]

Every movement of the thousands of Jews was watched by the strolling police and Gestapo officers and with the city chief of that time, Dr. Franke in the lead. Everyone was freed after a three-hour wait and was sent in groups to the work places. The ghetto breathed easier. However, an hour had not passed and the Jewish police, at the order of the Schutzpolizei, demanded that a certain number of workers from the “temporary labor camps” appear in the courtyard of the Judenrat that was located at Aleje number 11. More than 2,000 men appeared, of which a certain number were sent home. Those remaining were taken to the former metal factory, Metalurgia on Krutka Street. For three days, those held there were tortured with threats of being sent out to Germany to camps; many were terribly beaten by the Germans without reason. All efforts to learn about the further fate of those held had no result. Several of those being held made it out over the roof and smooth walls to Kawia Street and escaped from there. Everyone was freed after three days. This ostensible mobilization of the Jewish labor force further increased the unease that had begun to spread in the ghetto after the spring of 1942 when the terrible news of the explosion in Warsaw burst like lightning in the ghetto. In the morning, the feeling of insecurity seized everyone like an electrical storm. The question of working one day a week ceased to exist. The ransoming of oneself from work with money stopped. Everyone made an effort to belong to a temporary work place where they would work continually and in this way be “covered” and not be threatened with deportation. However, until this moment, when everyone went to great lengths to work in “temporary labor camps,” that is, until about the 20th of August, 1942, people were caught in “special aktsies” in addition to the mentioned aktsies, carried out mostly at night by the Jewish police. They grabbed people in order to fulfill the needs of various “temporary labor camps.” The Jewish police carried out 15 such aktsies just from the 18 of June to the 19th of August 1942.[61]

The leadership of the Jewish police wrote among other things in a letter of the 15th December 1941, no. 8091, to the president of the Judenrat about the results of the “snatchers”: “Among those caught are very often found ragged ones, full of lice.”[62] Therefore, the police proposed that the Judenrat should arrange for a special isolation hall where those caught could be held. These comments from the police characterize which strata of the populations suffered the most from the “snatchers.”

cze034a.jpg [41 KB]

cze034b.jpg [42 KB]

This is a matter about Pelta from Amstow [Msztow]
and Gnendl Baremhercik

[Page 35]

The Jewish Police

On the 1st of May 1940, with the blessing of the German Schutzpolizei, an administrative body under the name IRU (Inspekcja Ruchu Ulicznego [traffic inspection] – in Polish) was created by the Judenrat. Chosen for the headquarters of this administrative body were: chief commandant – M. Galster, assistants – A. Helman, Borzykowski, Y. Landa, M. Cederbaum, Z. Jaracinski and Y. Sztarkman. There were 45 functionaries at the beginning and a few weeks later – 72.[63] At first the IRU was occupied with regulating the movement of the Jews in the ghetto; they did not permit strolling the main streets of the city, did not permit sitting on the benches of the Aleyes, did not permit them to gather in the streets, did not permit them to stand in the streets in large groups and so on. Later they began to patrol regularly at 24 designated points: in 10 streets of the area with a dense Jewish populations and at 14 sections of the Judenrat.[64] The functionaries also were occupied with escorting food products for Jews, with maintaining order during the distribution of these products, supervising the sanitary situation and the prices in the Jewish shops, [maintaining] order at the collection spots for refugees (“asylums”), assisting in the evacuations and removal of Jews from their residences, making sure that Jews were not found in the ghetto streets when the Russian prisoners-of-war were brought through, as well as carrying out all special decrees from the president and of the Judenrat.[65] The attitude of the Jewish population to the IRU deteriorated and the leader of the IRU, Galster, was particularly despised. Jews would joke: “So, we already have autonomy” – and would add – “woe to the autonomy that we received from the Germans!”

The activities of the IRU began to be seen differently from the moment when the ghetto arose and the IRU was changed into a Jewish Ordnungsdienst [police force].

On the 21st of April 1941, Wendler, the city chief, sent a decree (to the Schutzpolizei, Polish Granatowa policja [Polish police of the General Government], the Security Police, to Battalion 310 and to the IRU under the heading: “Service Instructions for the Jewish Ghetto Police in Jewish Residential Areas in Czenstochow.” This decree begins as follows: In connection with setting up a Jewish residential area in the city of Czenstochow, the Jews must themselves maintain calm and order there; for this purpose, a Jewish Ordnungsdienst was created. The Judenrat was responsible for the equipping and support of this administrative body.

[Page 36]

After this introduction come nine points in which are listed the authority, tasks and responsibilities of the Ordnungsdienst, as well as the uniforms and the ranks. The rank of each Judenrat man could be recognized according to the stars, or buttons, that he wore on his hat and by his yellow armband. The leader wore four silver stars, his representative – three, a sector leader – two and his office representative one silver star. A group leader wore three yellow metal buttons, a section leader – two yellow buttons and an ordinary keeper of order – one yellow button.[66] The first time the policemen showed themselves in the street they were ill at ease in their police uniforms and hats and the far greater majority of them would try to draw little attention to themselves and this “attire.” Children ran after him, when someone appeared in the street in such “attire,” as they did in the good old times with the Purim shpilers [actors in Purim plays]. Most of the time, adults would greet them with a mocking smile. Little by little this attitude disappeared. The Ordnungsdienst became a natural phenomenon. Peace was made with the idea that they had a certain amount of power that we must consider… The policemen themselves got accustomed to their role; they felt they had a little bit of power and this strongly impressed many of them.

In addition to the authority that IRU had earlier, the Ordnungsdienst also had to guard the border points of the ghetto and assure that Jews did not leave the ghetto without special permission; they also were occupied with finding and handing over those who had escaped from forced labor, with compelling the payment of the taxes placed by the Judenrat, with assisting during the requisition of furniture both by the Germans and by the Judenrat, with assisting in deportations and with carrying out special aktsias of grabbing people for work who normally did not work in the temporary labor camps. Such special aktsias were particularly felt during the last months before the large deportation that took place during the second half of 1942. The “special aktsias” would be carried out by the police at an announcement from the Jewish labor office, which at the demand of the German labor office, or of other German government organs, had to provide a certain number of workers for a local temporary labor camp. The police would carry out such special aktsias for snatching [people] mostly at night. However, the police were not always successful in such aktsias because many Jews already had their hiding places where, in moments such as these “visits,” they would disappear. The year 1942 was rich in such aktsias.

[Page 37]

On the 27 of June 1942, 79 policemen took part, who provided 107 Jews; the 2nd of July – 30 policemen, who delivered 31 men; the 8th of July – 16 policemen, who provided one worker; the 10th of July – 12 policemen who provided 16 men; the 11th of July nine policemen who provided nine men; the 16th of July – 12 policemen who provided 60 men; the 17th of July – 10 policemen who provided 30 men; the 22nd of July – four policemen who put together a mix of a certain number of people without regard to gender from those who had hidden, escaping from temporary labor camps; the 30th of July – 15 policemen who provided 76 men; the 1st of August – 30 policemen who provided 25 men; the 4th of August – 24 policemen who provided 72 men; the 12th of August – the entire police reserve who provided 51 men; the 13th of August – the same reserve, who provided 65 men; the 14th of August – 28 policemen who provided 52 men.[67] Such actions no longer took place after the 16th of August because, due to the uneasy mood that spread in the ghetto everyone went to great lengths to be employed at a temporary labor camp so they were included among those who were needed as [members of] the labor force.

At the direct communication of the Judenrat, the police would seal residences of Jews who hid from work, or because they had not paid the taxes that had been placed on them or money penalties. Decrees were issued to seal 76 residences just from the 18th of June until the 16th of August 1942.[68] At the direction of the trade and handworkers division of the Judenrat, Jewish police also would seal Jewish shops that had not paid any rent up to that time. Because of the increased amount of authority, the number of police functionaries was increased from 72 to 150 in 1942 – to 250.[69] As soon as the ghetto was established there were not many people who wanted to be policemen. However, little by little the situation changed so much that in order to enter the police one had to pay even larger sums of money in a bribe because being a policeman meant one no longer had to pay various taxes, was freed from forced labor, from the terror and from various other torture racks and insults. Although not all policemen carried out their duties with zeal, the earlier indifference and later mocking attitude of the Jews toward the policemen changed into a relationship of open enmity and contempt. There were more and more cases where policemen were publicly attacked and insulted.

[Page 38]

September 1942. No sooner had the murderous liquidation of the Jews begun in Czenstochow then all of the policemen and their wives and children were allowed into store houses at Garibaldi Street 18 where the Jewish doctors and their families were also permitted [to enter] (they were not permitted to bring any other family members with them). Here they had to wait until all of the “selections” occurred and thus avoid the deportations. Only a small group of policemen and several members of the Judenrat were permitted to assist during the carrying out of the “selections.” After the first “selection” a number of policemen were sent to the ammunition factory, “HASAG” [Hugo Schneider AG – a German metal goods manufacturer] where they no longer were policemen but they took on the functions of foremen. A number of them also were sent away with the transports to Treblinka. Only 50 policemen remained, who had special protection from the Germans or from the officers of the Granat police [Granatowa policja – Polish police during the German occupation]. These 50 policemen, on the order of the chief Degenhart, took part during the further “selections.” They also went through the courtyards of the ghetto and called the hidden Jews out of their bunkers. On these occasions, several of them found hidden Jewish possessions in the bunkers and mainly valuable items, jewelry and in this manner they became rich. However, among the 50 policemen there were, all told, several exceptions who did not chase after riches and tried to help during the “selections” so that Jews were found on the side that was designated as not to be deported, but this was mostly for those who were close to them and well known to them.

The greater number of the 50 policemen tumbled down the abyss after the whole deportation, when a new ghetto that was called “the small ghetto” was created for those remaining. Drunk from the impulse and from the opportunity to get rich from the remaining hidden Jewish possessions, believing that their families would certainly remain alive after they loyally served the Germans, they were true slaves of the Schutzpolizei at a cost to the several thousand still surviving Jews. During the deportation of older Jews and mothers with children in the small ghetto, they keenly searched, dragged out and presented the victims demanded of them by the Schutzpolizei.

At the end of July 1943, after the liquidation of the small ghetto, some of the 50 policemen and their wives and children were sent, along with other surviving Jews, from the small ghetto to the “HASAG” camp that was organized in the ammunition factory of Pelcery [a former textile factory] and the rest remained for use by the Schutzpolizei to clear away the murdered as well as to clean out the little bit of remaining Jewish possessions in the small ghetto.

[Page 39]

On the 19th of July 1943, during the “selection” of the Jews that was carried out in the “HASAG” camp at Pelcery, all of the policemen and their wives and children, without exception, and several hundred more Jews were thrown into a bunker (only one woman and her one and a half year-old son hid). In the morning, they and approximately 300 more Jews were annihilated at the Jewish cemetery, where a large mass grave had earlier been prepared.

  1. Letter from the city chief to Dr. Lasz in Radom of the 21st February 1940. return
  2. Notes from city chief (typewritten). return
  3. Letter from the Judenrat [Jewish council] to the Jewish police of the 29th of March 1941, no. 41/828. return
  4. Letter from the Judenrat [Jewish council] to the Jewish police of the 29th of March 1941, no. 41/828. return
  5. Report of the city chief of the 8th of May 1941. return
  6. Announcement by Majznerowicz, the Polish leader of the Jewish Police on the 8th of August 1941. return
  7. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II. return
  8. Two letters from the city chief to the military commander calling him to a talk with General Zibert about “closed residential district” for Jews of the 25th of April 1941. return
  9. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II. return
  10. Two letters from the city chief to the military commander calling him to a talk with General Zibert about “closed residential district” for Jews of the 25th of April 1941. return
  11. Order of the Military Commandant in Czenstochow about “Entering the Ghetto through the Wehrmachtgeherike [people working for the German army].” return
  12. Written demands from Dr. Gutt in Radom of the 2nd of May 1941 to the city chief in Czenstochow. return
  13. Letter from the city chief. return
  14. Written report from Wendler (city chief). return
  15. Statistical Report of the Evidence Division of the city managing committee of the 8th of February 1947. return
  16. Letter from the Judenrat (Jewish Council) to the Jewish police. return
  17. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 182, 189 and 190. return
  18. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 182, 189 and 190. return
  19. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 182, 189 and 190. return
  20. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III page 291. return
  21. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 195, 203 and 206. return
  22. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 195, 203 and 206. return
  23. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume II pages 195, 203 and 206. return
  24. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III pages 317. 319 and 324. return
  25. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III pages 317. 319 and 324. return
  26. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III pages 317. 319 and 324. return
  27. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III pages 317. 319 and 324. return
  28. Statistical Book of Judenrat [Jewish council] Volume III pages 317. 319 and 324. return
  29. Letter from Borzykowski to Kurland (typewritten) with a handwritten postscript by Advocate Faharille. return
  30. Day report of the Jewish police (police book). return
  31. Letter from Majznerowicz (Polish commander of the Jewish police) to the Judenrat [Jewish council]. return
  32. [Jewish council] volume I pages 42, 43. return
  33. Statistical Book of the Judenrat [Jewish council] volume I pages 42, 43. return
  34. Statistical Book of the Judenrat [Jewish council] volume I pages 42, 43. return
  35. “Service Instructions for the Jewish Housing Service” of the city chief, Dr. Wendler. return
  36. Day report in the police book. return
  37. Day report in the police book. return
  38. Written order of the police commandant. return

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