The food ration officially was 130 grams of bread per person every two days. Most
of the people exchanged their clothes for food but after several months everybody
starved. Only members of the
and Jewish police had enough food and very often
people noticed big parties. In spite of threatening punishments (since
smugglers were shot)
many people tried to smuggle food into the ghetto. After the arrival of the Jews from
Soon there was no more official religious life in the ghetto. The synagogue was
changed into a storage for grain and furniture. The prayers' homes were demolished.
People who tried to organize a secret religious life were reported to the police by
Germans or Jewish collaborators.
Before the liquidation of the ghetto, the Gestapo
organized an Aktion
officers and communists" in spring 1942
. During this action several Jewish doctors and
members of the intelligentsia were shot, others arrested and deported to Auschwitz
In fact the Gestapo
wanted to liquidate all people who theoretically could be leaders of the
resistance in the ghetto. This indeed was common practice, prior to large scale deportation actions. The ghetto
liquidation took place from 20 - 24 August 1942
On the first day around 7,000 people were deported to
. Every Jew could
take along 20 kg luggage but in fact many people were so surprised by the "action"
that they went to the assembly point without suitcases. On Okrzeja Street
selected: Old people, invalides and sick were shot on the spot.
On 22 August 1942
500 Jews were executed in course of the selection. On
23 August 1942
the SS ordered to kill all patients from the Jewish hospital. Jewish doctors
were forced to kill hundreds of patients in the hospital, by lethal injections.
Around 20,000 - 21,000 Jews were deported to Treblinka
extermination camp where
they perished. Around 1,200 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the "action".
The SS plundered the Jewish property: Clothings, linen, equipment of workshops and
furniture were stored in special buildings in the center of Kielce.
SS-Hauptsturmführer Ernst Thomas
directed the ghetto liquidation.
On 24 August 1942
only around 2,000 young and robust Jews remained in the ghetto,
imprisoned in a special camp on Stolarska
. The Lagerälteste
(camp elder) of this camp was Gustav Spiegel
, a German Jew.
The prisoners had to segregate the plundered Jewish property and to clean the ghetto area. According to
testimonies they had to segregate also the clothes which were delivered from
The camp existed until spring 1943
. Until that time groups of Jews were deported to work
camps in Starachowice, Skarzysko-Kamienna, Pionki
. In March 1943
a selection in the Kielce camp, the SS killed all Jewish doctors and their families,
and in May 1943
a group of children. After the May selection the Germans established
several work camps:
1. Mlynarska Street
- Hasag Granat Werke
which existed until
. 400-500 prisoners were forced to work in quarries, workshops and an
2. Mlynarska Street
- Henrykow Factory
(wood processing). This camp
had even worse conditions. During its existence around 150 Jews were killed.
(foundry) - The camp existed until summer 1944
200 - 300 prisoners lived within the factory.
In August 1944
all camps were closed and the prisoners evacuated
) and Buchenwald
KZ. Only from the camp
Hasag Granat Werke
in Kielce 28 Jews could escape during the evacuation. They joined
the partisans or hid in villages near Kielce.
45 Jewish children who survived the ghetto and the camps were discovered and shot at the Jewish cemetery.
After the war around 150 Jews left their hidings and returned to Kielce. They found a place in their former
parish hall, waiting for a possibility to emigrate to Palestine.
In June 1946
they were accused of having committed a ritual murder
on a missing Polish boy. On 1 July 1946
a furious crowd gathered round the building
and on 4 July 1946
they killed 42 Jews. The drama could be stopped only by Polish troops.
Seven ringleaders and killers were sentenced to death. The missing boy turned up
again in a nearby village...
Until today historians discuss who provoked this anti-Jewish riot. Many inhabitants
participated in the pogrom and around 100 people were arrested by the communist
police; among them people who did not participate in the crime but being known
as anti-communists. Until today some people suspect that the pogrom was provoked
by communists for eliminating opponents of the new regime in Poland.
As a result most remaining Jews in Poland and other communist countries emigrated
mainly to Palestine / Israel. For the minority that remained normal Jewish life in Poland had changed forever.
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
© ARC (http://www.deathcamps.org) 2005
|Jews from Vienna who were deported to Kielce
||Austrian Jews in Kielce