Jewish people and their customs on the pictures below. Poland after 1917

Jewish Ghetto in Poland Bedzin after 1941
Jewish Ghetto in Poland Bedzin

Jewish schoolboy, Heder boy, Talmid Ba't Sefer
Jewish schoolboy, heder boy

During 1940–41 the situation in Bedzin was considered somewhat better than in most other places in occupied Poland (Bedzin and its neighbor *Sosnowiec were for a long time the only large cities in Poland where no ghetto was established). For this reason thousands of Jews from central Poland sought refuge there. Several thousand Jews from the district were expelled and forced to reside in Bedzin, among them all the Jews from Oswiecim (German name – Auschwitz), who arrived in April–May 1941, prior to the construction of the Auschwitz camp. About 6,500 Jews in the town were sent to forced labor camps and others were put to work locally making clothing and boots for the German army. In May and June 1942 the first deportations took place in which 2,400 “nonproductive” Jews were sent to their death in Auschwitz. On Aug. 15, 1942, about 8,000–10,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz, while others were shot on the spot for disobeying German orders.
In spring 1943 a ghetto was established in the suburb of Kamionka. On June 22, 1943, 4,000 Jews were deported and on August 1, 1943, the final liquidation of the ghetto began. In all, about 30,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from Bedzin. Only a limited number of Jews survived the concentration camps by hiding. The Jewish underground resistance in Bedzin became active at the beginning of 1940. They circulated illegal papers and made contact with the Warsaw Ghetto underground. After the establishment of the ghetto, the underground concentrated mainly on preparations for armed resistance. A unified fighting organization came into being with strong ties with the Jewish Fighting Organization of the Warsaw Ghetto.
On Aug. 3, 1943, during the last deportation, some armed resistance broke out. Among the fighters who fell in battle was the leading Jewish partisan Frumka Plotnicka. Deportees from Bedzin played a major role in the underground and uprising in the Auschwitz death camp (among them – Jeshajahu Ehrlich, Moshe Wygnanski, Ala Gertner, and Rosa Sapirstein). [ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 3]

Photo albums about Jewish life in Poland.

  • Image before my eyes: a photographic history of Jewish life in Poland, 1864-1939
    by Dobroszycki, Lucjan.
    Contributors: Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Barbara.
    Year: 1977, 269 p

  • Poyln : Jewish life in the old country 1st American ed.
    by Kacyzne, Alter, 1885-1941.
    Year: 1999


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