ARC Main Page Belzec Camp History

Deportations from Galicia District to Belzec

Last Update 14 June 2006


Between 17 March and 8 December 1942 more than 200,000 Jews from the Galicia district were deported to the death camp in Belzec. They were shipped to death in 71 transports. Most Jews were deported in August (80,000) and September (55,000).
During the liquidation of the ghettos in Galicia district thousands of Jews were executed on the spot. Most of the killed people in the ghettos were old or sick people and babies - all who could not join the transport.

The first wave of deportations from Galicia was organized in March / April 1942. Most of the victims came from the Lviv Ghetto. These frist deportations were officially called "actions against the people not able to work". The ghetto Jews were informed that it is just a resettlement to work camps. The deportees were allowed to carry 25 kg luggage and 200 Zloties. In many small ghettos, for example in Grodek Jagiellonski, Stanislawow or Rohatyn, after the selections of people being able to work, all others were shot on the spot. In Stanislawow Jews were killed together with patients of the mental home. Already at that time people in many ghettos knew about the horrible activities at Belzec death camp.

The next wave of deportations was organized in Galicia district in summer and in late 1942. In many cases it was the total liquidation of the small ghettos in this region. The deportation trains to Belzec stopped in Lviv. There mainly young men were selected for work at the Janowska work camp. All others re-entered the train to Belzec. Historians estimate that about 25% of the transported people have already died when the trains arrived at Belzec. All "actions" in the ghettos were very cruel and bloody. Hundreds of people were killed on their way to the trains or assembly points. An impressive example for this kind of "resettlement" is the "action" in the Tarnopol ghetto, organized on 31 August 1942:
"In the early morning, groups of Ordnungsdienst, Schupo, policemen and Ukrainian police surrounded the ghetto. At the same time other units of these troops, together with the staff of Außendienststelle Tarnopol threw the overtired Jews out of their homes and drove them to the assembly points. There the victims had to sit many hours in the summer heat. The guards beat and shot the Jews whenever they noticed a single movement. The people had to sit together very narrow, preparing space for the next victims. Especially the children suffered from thirst. At noon the people were ordered to the railway station, by foot or on trucks. This action was finished in the evening. Many dead bodies covered the assembly place, mostly shot by guards. Finally 100 or even more people were squeezed into each cattle car. The bodies of killed or unconscious people were added and then the doors were locked.The conditions in the wagons were unbelievable: no food, no ventilation, no space for moving. After a one day journey they arrived at the death camp in Belzec where they were killed in its gas chambers. Only those survived, who successfully managed to escape from the train or were selected in Lviv for the Janowska work camp. More than 1,500 Jews from Tarnopol lost their lifes during this "action."

The last transports from Galicia district were sent on 8 December 1942. The remaining Jews in many Galician ghettos and work camps survived only until summer 1943. Most of them were shot during the final liquidation of the ghettos and camps, some groups were deported to the Sobibor death camp.


A. Kruglov: Deportacja ludnosci zydowskiej z dystryktu Galicja do obozu zaglady w Belzcu (Deportation of the Jewish Population from Galicia District to the Death Camp in Belzec in 1942). In: Bulletin of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, No. 3(151), 1989.

J. Kielbon: Migracje ludnosci w dystrykcie lubelskim w latach 1939-1944 (Migrations of the People in Lublin District in 1939-1944), Lublin 1995.

G. Taffet: Zaglada Zydow zolkiewskich (Annihilation of Zolkiew's Jews), Lodz 1946.

T. Sandkühler: "Endlösung" in Galizien. Der Judenmord in Ostpolen und die Rettungsinitiativen von Berthold Beitz 1941-1944, Bonn 1996.

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