Łańcut | Subcarpathian Voivodeship

Group portrait of four young Jewish women in a public square in Łańcut, Poland. From left: Ethel Ringelheim, Sheila Gurfein, Esther Amet and Basia Gurfein. © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Betty Gurfein Berliner A Jewish family moves their belongings by horse-drawn wagon into Łańcut, Poland.From left: Basia, Sara, and Ita Gurfein. Standing is Feiga Gerstein (Sara Gurfein Gerstein’s sister-in-law). © USHMM, courtesy of Betty Gurfein Berliner / The synagogue in Łańcut is located at III Sobieskiego Square, near the Lubomirski and Potocki Castle. Built in an eastern style, the synagogue is one of the most valuable monuments of Jewish religious architecture in Poland. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The interior of the synagogue in Łańcut, 2019. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum A part of the tombstones from the Jewish cemetery devastated during the war were collected and placed in the synagogue hall. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The former Jewish culture house in Łańcut. Today it is a shop. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Former mikveh, a ritual Jewish bathhouse from 1910. Today it houses the Aid Society of Saint Brother Albert. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Aleksander S., born in 1929:  “The Korblaum family of shoemakers lived nearby. After the Jews were taken, they hid in one of old houses’ gardens. They were denounced. I saw Kokut just after he shot them, with his sleeves up, holding two guns.” ©Piotr Male Aleksander S., born in 1929:  “I remember the Jews who were hiding near the cemetery. Kokut and other policeman were taking victims to the cemetery and Jews who were hiding attacked them. They were killed on the spot”. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad In Unum Stanisław M., born in 1932: “I saw the Jews being led to the cemetery on requisitioned carts by Kokut and a policeman. If the victims were women the pit was already dug, if they were men, they had to dig the pit themselves. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad -In Unum Stanisław M., born in 1932: “Just before they left, the Germans covered the wall of the cemetery with high planks. Behind them they burned the evidence of the executions. There was a lot of black smoke from corpse-burning." ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The Jewish cemetery known as “the new one”, execution site and burial place of several hundred Jews from Łańcut region murdered by the German Nazi occupiers in 1939-1944. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The memorial for the Jewish victims at the Jewish cemetery in Łańcut. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Łańcut

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Several hundreds

Witness interview

Aleksander S., born in 1929: “Before the outbreak of the war, both Catholic and Jewish families lived in Łańcut. The two communities were almost equal. The Jews were mostly traders, store owners, and one of them had brick factory. My family had Jewish neighbors, the KRANZLER family, who were wood traders. The other families were MILLER and KOBAK. There was a synagogue in the town. During the occupation, it used as a corn warehouse, now it is a museum. There were also two Jewish cemeteries in town. One of them was old and not used. There were also a Jewish bath and a community house located in a building on Ciemna Street. Jewish and Catholic children went to school together. In autumn 1939, when the war started, Jewish men were forced to cover the trenches dug by the Polish army. German soldiers would mock the Jews, pushing them into the trenches or pulling their beards. Germans took photos of this. Then the Jews had to march while singing a song. At that time, they could still live in their houses, although each Jewish individual had to wear an armband with a Star of David on it. In the summer of 1942 or 1943, the Jews from Łańcut and the surrounding area were deported to the Pełkinie camp.” (Witness n°1001P, interviewed in Łańcut, on April 30, 2019)

German archives

“I lived in Lancut during the occupation and worked as a bailiff in the building of the old court (...). From the window of my office - that is, the window of the mortgage office in the courthouse (...) on the second floor - one could clearly see the courtyard of the prison cells. There were Jews among the inmates, arrested mainly in 1942 and 1943, that is, during the period of mass extermination. I saw, at least 5 or 6 times from the window (…), how the gendarmes Kretzinger, Wilde and Dziewulski took Jews out of the cells in small groups. They placed them along the wall in the yard and shot them in the head. The Jews’ faces were turned towards the wall. The bodies of the people who had been shot were then taken to the Jewish cemetery in carts provided by the city administration. I always observed these shootings throughout the morning (...). I can affirm that during the executions that I saw with my own eyes, at least 20 Jews were killed - men, women and children.” [Deposition of Stanislaw Wojnarowicz of 29.9.1970 in Rzeszow. Polish. BAL B162-5513 p.68]

Polish Archives

“Summer 1942:

-15 Jews found in the garden of a Kornblaun Jew and shot on the spot. Bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery.

-10 Jews (6 men and 4 women) shot in the Jewish cemetery after the liquidation of the ghetto.

November 9, 1942: 9 Jews shot by gendarmes next to the house on Sobieskiego Street 19. Bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery, in March 1944 dug up and burned.

November 1942: 8 Jews shot by gendarmes on Wolowa Street. Bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery, in March 1944 dug up and burned.

Autumn 1942: 8 Jews found and shot in the garden on Krakowska street. Bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery.

December 1942 and January 1943: 24 Jews shot in the Jewish cemetery by the gendarmes. Bodies buried in the Jewish cemetery, in March 1944 dug up and burned.”[Rejestr miejsc I faktow zbrodni polemnionych przez okupanta hitlerowskiego na ziemiach polskich w latach 1939-1945]


Historical note

Łańcut is a town in southeastern Poland, situated in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship (since 1999). It is the capital of Łańcut County and lies about 17 km northeast from of regional capital, Rzeszów. The first mentions of Jewish inhabitants in the town date back to 1554. By the 17th century, the Jewish community had a synagogue and a cemetery and by the end of the 18th century, Jews owned 47 houses in Łańcut. After a fire in 1733, in which the old wooden synagogue burned to the ground, the community erected a brick one in 1761. According to Yahad witness Aleksander S., born in 1929, during the German occupation and for years after the war, the synagogue was used as a corn warehouse.  Over the subsequent decades, the Jewish population kept growing, reaching 1,940 people in the town by the beginning of the 20th century (40% of population) and 2,588 in the entire Leżajsk kehilla. The Jewish community occupied a significant place in the cultural, economic, politic, and social life of the town. The Jews in Łańcut mainly made a living from crafts and trade, including trading in wood, grain, potash, and linen. There were several Jewish bakers and tailors in Łańcut, as well as one Jewish butcher for every eight local butchers. Eight Christians and six Jews were involved in the liquor trade. The community had two Jewish cemeteries, which today are commonly called “the old one”, established in the 17th century, and “the new one.”  In 1921, there were 2,753 Jews living in Łańcut, which represented more than 30% of town’s total population. Most of the c.170 Jewish stores, stores, stalls, inns and workshops were located in the market square and its vicinity. Yahad witness Stanislaw M., born in 1932, recalls that before the war, there were nine Jewish restaurants, one was called Łajka. The best tailor at the time was Keszteher.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On September 22, 1939, the German authorities occupying Łańcut ordered all the Jews to leave town in the direction of Jarosław, across the San river to the Soviet occupation zone. On September 24, the Germans started to carry out searches in the neighborhoods in order to find anyone who stayed behind and transport them in trucks across to the other bank of the San River. During the first days of October 1939, the Germans announced that all the Jews remaining could stay in town but had to register with the authorities. The Jewish council, Judenrat, was created in November 1939. It was ordered to designate one person from each Jewish family once a week for forced labor. According to different historians, the ghetto was established in Łańcut in December 1939 or in January 1940. The Jews displaced from Kalisz, Piotrków Trybunalski and Łódź were transferred there. In the winter of 1939-1940, the Jews were ordered to wear armbands with a Star of David on them. From that moment, they were completely excluded from economic and social life of the town. After the Germans attacked the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, a significant number of Łańcut jews who had been expelled to Eastern Galicia returned to the town. They all had to register, and many of those who didn’t, were persecuted and arrested for being suspected of collaborating with the Soviets. From early 1942, all the Jewish men were forced to work, mostly for German companies, as well as in road construction. The ghetto liquidation began on August 1, 1942. All its Jewish residents were transported, on carts or on foot, to the transit camp in Pełkinie (14 km away). From there, the elderly and sick people were taken to the nearby forest and shot. The others were loaded onto trains and sent to the Belzec extermination camp. A group of 60 men were retained in Łańcut for work, but were sent to the ghetto in Sieniawa in September 1942.

Several executions were perpetrated in Łańcut during the German occupation. Most of them were carried out by the Gestapo members from Jarosław and Joseph Kokut, a German Gendarmerie member from the Gendarmerie post office in Łańcut In 1942, about 120 Jews were executed and buried at the Jewish cemetery, commonly known as “the new one”. Several smaller shootings also took place at the Jewish cemetery during the German occupation.

The available archives, as well as interviewed witnesses, mention a few shootings of the Jews in hiding. At least 27 Jews,who had been in hiding in town were killed on the spot, along with the Poles who had hidden them. Stanisław M. told our team about a shooting of three Jews, a man, a woman, and their child, hidden in the house of Nizioł’s family and found there by Joseph Kokut. Eventually, Mrs. Nizioł was also executed by Kokut. The Jewish family’s bodies were buried at the Jewish cemetery. In 1944 the bodies were dug out by the Germans and burnt as part of the Operation 1005. Stanisław told our team that just before the Germans left town, they covered the wall of the cemetery with 1,5 meters high planks and behind them, they were burning the evidence of the executions held at the cemetery. Today the Jewish cemetery in Łańcut, the execution site and the burial site of several hundreds of Jewish victims from Łańcut and its surroundings are fenced in and commemorated with a memorial.


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