Tuchów (Tuchow) | Lesser Poland

Tuchow’s market place before the war. In the picture, we can see the synagogue, burnt by the Germans on the 16th September, 1939 ©http://www.galeria.tuchow.pl The German soldiers blew up Tuchow’s bridge in 1945 ©http://www.galeria.tuchow.pl / The current view of the street where the Jewish ghetto in Tuchow was located during the war © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Zbigniew S., born in 1931, recalls: "The Jews from Tuchow were mainly traders. They lived in the center of the town." © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum As a child, Zbigniew drew a scene of the violence he witnessed in the ghetto © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Stefan G., born in 1934, remembers well his Jewish neighbors and school friends. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Zbigniew S., born in 1931, shows the street of the former ghetto in Tuchow to Yahad’s team © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Zbigniew S., born in 1931, leads Yahad’s team to the former Jewish cemetery, the main burial place of Jewish victims during the war  © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Tuchow

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Zielona and Ogrodowa Streets/Krowodrza forest/ghetto
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
48

Witness interview

Zbigniew S., born in 1931, recalls: “At the time, there were some pine trees growing here. When I heard the gun shots, me, my brother and our neighbor, we climbed these trees. From above, we had a perfect view on Ogrodowa street. There was a house there. We saw Germans making a few Jews come out of that house, one by one, and shooting them. Suddenly, one of the Germans said something, pointing his finger in our direction. We figured out that he saw us so we got out of the trees as fast as squirrels and we ran away from there. I didn’t see all the Jews getting killed. After I heard that about 10 or 11 persons got shot there that day. They were Jewish policemen from the ghetto. The rest of them were probably sent to the Belzec death camp (…)” (Eyewitness n°220, interviewed in Tuchow, on September 9, 2013)

Polish Archives

Court inquiries about executions and mass graves:

1. Date and place of execution: December 1942; Ogrodowa Street, Tuchow;

2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting;

3. Personal data of the executed victims (Polish, Jews, other nationalities): 26 Jews from the Tuchow ghetto with Weiss Lippe, Reich Gustaw, Sabina, Roman, three members of the Lederow family and others;

4. They were killed because they were Jews. (...)

5. Victims’ bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery in Tuchow, in one mass grave.

[IPNKrakowReport 1/11625/DVD/1 pp.93-94, 99-102 ; deposition of Michal Galas]

Historical note

Tuchow is a small town located in the administrative district of Tarnow in Lesser Poland. It lies 55 miles east of the regional Capital Krakow. Jews started to settle down in Tuchow quite late in comparison to nearby towns and villages because only in XVIII century. Officially, they were authorized to settle down in Tuchow since 1854. From that moment, Tuchow started to widen and develop dynamically. Jews from Tuchow were mainly traders and artisans. In 1921, there were almost 400 Jews living in Tuchow, which represented 13% of a whole town population.  At the beginning of World War II, around 500 Jews were living in Tuchow (25% of the whole town’s population). The Wehrmacht soldiers appeared in Tuchow on September 7, 1939.   

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Right after German’s arrival, they burnt the only synagogue in Tuchow. They also started to persecute the local Jews by beating and insulting them, cutting their beards or destroying their shops and houses. In December, 1939, the Nazis gathered together all the Jews who were older than 13 in a local school. Among these people, they chose 15 persons who were taken somewhere and never came back. A few months later, a local farmer discovered a mass grave in the forest near Tarnowiec. The victims’ family members could identify and bury the victims’ bodies in the Jewish cemetery in Tuchow after having paid a significant amount of money to the Germans. In June 1942, a ghetto was established in Tuchow. More than 2.000 Jews from Tuchow and Ryglice lived in that ghetto, in only 17 buildings. According to Polish archives, 48 Jews were shot in several executions during the existence of the Tuchow ghetto. The victims’ bodies were usually buried in the local Jewish cemetery, which was completely destroyed by the Germans during the World War II. The ghetto was liquidated on the 18th of September, 1943. The majority of the Jews were sent to the Belzec death camp. According to Zbigniew S., born in 1931, the only Jews left in the ghetto were Jewish policemen. They were supposed to clean the ghetto territory after its liquidation. Once the work was done, they were all shot by the Germans on the territory of the ghetto.

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