Czestochowa was occupied on
3 September 1939
. On the next day the Nazis killed 300 Jews, in an action known
as "Bloody Monday". At that time approximately 28-30,000 Jews lived in the town (total population: 130-140,000).
Until 9 April 1941
, when the ghetto was established, the Jews suffered
from expropriation, humiliation and
By June 1942
the ghetto’s population had increased to around 40-50,000; around
15,000 Jews from the surrounding area had been forced to move into the ghetto.
On 16 September 1939
was established, led by
Other members were three lawyers (J. Gitler, Z. Rotbart, S. Pohorille
the director of the Jewish Gymnasium (Anisfelt
), a famous sportsman
), L. Bromberg and N. Berliner
On 4 October 1942
all members were deported to
), together with members of the Jewish ghetto police and their families.
was shot after the deportation,
became chief of the Judenrat
22 July 1943
when he was
accused by the Germans of being disloyal. Finally he was shot at the Jewish cemetery.
was responsible for the organisation of the Jewish ghetto police.
Its commander was a man named "Parasol", a former Polish army officer. The ghetto police numbered 250 persons.
In August 1940
about 1,000 young men from Czestochowa between the ages
of 18 and 25 were sent to the Forced Labour Camp Cieszanow
). They were sent to build the highway; almost none survived.
One of the survivors was Joseph Sher
The ghetto remained "open" until 23 August 1941
; then it was sealed off.
|Burned Synagogue in 1941
Many Jews from Czestochowa, from other Polish towns and from Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Bohemia were forced to
work for Germany's profit, and to support the Nazi war effort. Forced labour camps were installed, for example
in the armament factories and workshops of HASAG
(Hugo Schneider Metallwarenfabrik AG
, located in
(former ironworks in Rakow
suburb, which was converted into
an ammunition factory),
(former textile factory near the station, also converted into an ammunition factory),
(foundry on Krotka Street
and some more smaller factories or workshops.
Nobody in the ghetto believed that deportations would occur. Everybody assumed that the ghetto was important for war
production. Even when in July / August 1942
Jews escaped to
Czestochowa and talked about deportations to the Treblinka
death camp, the Jews
of Czestochowa did not believe them. Horrible stories, told by Treblinka
escapees, were called "the imagination of sick brains".
|Deportation Square *
|Decree from 24 September 1942
The ghetto clearing took place between 22 September 1942
8 October 1942
. On Garibaldi
some houses were prepared as storage rooms in which the plundered property was
stored after the deportation. All entrances to the cellars were painted white so
that the Germans could quickly find hidden Jews.
The first Aktion
was organized on Yom Kippur, 21 - 22 September 1942
. In the
night SS and Ukrainians from
surrounded the ghetto and installed lamps on the streets. Then the
Jews were thrown out of their flats. They had to gather in front of the Metallurgia
where a selection took place. Around 7,000 Jews were forced to march to the railway ramp at
. There they had to enter cattle wagons and were deported to
. 200 other people were killed on the spot, 350 selected for work.
A mass grave for the murdered Jews was dug on Kawia Street
The next "actions" were organized on 25 - 26
28 - 29 September
. The selections took
place on streets and courtyards. The Germans informed the members of the Judenrat
the Jews would be deported to work camps in Eastern Poland. Those who had been deported
"are already working and happy". Through loudspeakers they told the remaining Jews that all
deportees lived in good conditions in the camps and that each volunteer would get 1 kg bread,
jam and a plate of soup. Therefore many people went to the deportation square voluntarily.
Another deportation took place on 4 October
: Among those deported to
were members of the
and many Jewish policemen were deported to Treblinka
. The last
transport (7 October) stopped in the small town Koniecpol
. Around 1,500 Jews from
joined the train to Treblinka
During the liquidation of the Big Ghetto approximately 40,000 Jews from Czestochowa were deported
. Every death train consisted of 60 cattle wagons, each occupied
by around 130 persons. About 2,000 people were murdered in the ghetto, including tenants of old people's homes
and children from orphanages.
|Forced Labourers *
After the deportations only 5,000 Jewish forced labourers remained in the Small Ghetto,
most of them strong or well educated. The Small Ghetto was located in the Northeast
corner of the former Big Ghetto, at Nadrzeczna, Kozia, Mostowa, Spadek
It was the poorest and oldest part of the town. The ghetto was surrounded by barbed wire and
had only one gate on Garncarska Street
. In the official German documents this
ghetto was called "Zwangsarbeitslager Tschenstochau
". Some Jews had to sort out plundered property
in a big storehouse on Garibaldi Street
. Others worked in the town's factories
and several workshops. All Jews in the Small Ghetto had to wear numbers on their clothes.
On 4 January 1943
a first selection took place in the Small Ghetto. 350 women
and children were deported to Treblinka
and 200 other people were executed on
. In March 1943
organized an Aktion
against the intelligentsia: 130 people were shot at the Jewish cemetery.
On 25 June 1943
selected people were sent to work camps near the HASAG
At the beginning of July 1943
the Small Ghetto was liquidated.
The last selection took place on 20-22 July 1943
when the last Jewish policemen
and the last chairman of the Judenrat
, Bernard Kurland
selected together with people unable to work. They were executed at the Jewish cemetery.
|HASAG Camp *
was the biggest forced labour camp in Czestochowa. By the
end of June 1944
around 5,000 Jews from Czestochowa and Lodz
were forced to work there. In
another group of Jewish prisoners arrived at HASAG
. They came
from other work camps of the HASAG
Company in the Radom
Skarzysko-Kamienna, Radom, Kielce
and from the Luftwaffe
work camp in
All these people were evacuated to Czestochowa because of the Soviet offensive in the
summer of 1944
By the end of 1944
it was one of the biggest work camps in the Generalgouvernement
with around 10,000 Jewish prisoners.
The Jews lived in overcrowded barracks. Many died of starvation, the cruel treatment or from typhus.
In December 1944 HASAG-Pelcery
came under SS control and the conditions
became worse, similar to those in a German concentration camp.
On 15-16 January 1945
, because of the Soviet offensive, the SS evacuated the camp.
Around 5,000 prisoners were sent to the concentration camps Buchenwald,
where most of them perished.
|After the Destruction *
Jewish resistance fighters of ZOB (Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa) fought unsuccessfully against
the Germans until June 1943
There had been a Jewish resistance group organised since the summer of 1942
First attempts at armed resistance
were made during the liquidation of the Big Ghetto. The main headquarters of the ZOB was on
Nadrzeczna Street 66
, hence this group was called "Fighting Group 66". In
of the group, Dr Adam Wolberg
, was denounced to the Gestapo
Between 23 and 26 June 1943
the SS surrounded the Small Ghetto.
The resistance fighters did not know
the exact date of this Aktion
and were surrounded by a much greater number of police and SS. Those who
were captured, were immediately deported to Treblinka
. Finally the Germans
destroyed the ghetto.
The man responsible for the deportations was SS-Hauptsturmführer
from Czestochowa Gestapo
. He even killed personally and
was described as perfect organiser. After the war he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in
(Germany) because of the shooting of about 51 Jews.
replaced Hauptmann Heutz
in spring 1942
as chief of the Czestochowa police.
Between spring and summer 1942
the police command
(later called Schupo-Kommando
) was extended from 30 - 40 to 50 - 60 Germans. The headquarters were located
at the Polish townhouse in 75 Marienallee Street
chief of around 240 Polish policemen and the Jewish order service (ghetto police). He was subordinate to the
(order police) commander Radom
SS- und Polizeiführer
(death penalty in
, together with his adjutant
, activated Aktion Reinhard
, experienced in deportation actions, organized
the "resettlement" trains and the police troops that assisted the Czestochowa police during the
"actions". In the summer of 1942 Böttcher, Blum, Feucht
met in Czestochowa. Degenhardt
produced a ghetto map and
explained the important facts about the ghetto Jews. Böttcher
leader of the "resettlement" actions, commanding all activities. Later
called himself "father of the Jews". The Jews themselves
regarded him as "the master of life and death".
Only around 5,000 Jews were still alive when the Red Army liberated Czestochowa on
17 January 1945
, among them 1,500 Jews from Czestochowa itself.
(partially in German)
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
Anna Bieszk's, Paulina Cisowska's, Marysia Krefta's and Dorota Lygas' website
Dr Dick de Mildt,
Special thanks to Jarek Bykowski from Czestochowa
© ARC (http://www.deathcamps.org) 2005
|Destroyed Cemetery *