2 Execution site(s)
Jerzy S., born in 1933: “There were several Jewish families living in Brzeziny before the war. I remember the Pinek family, our neighbors and my parents’ good friends. Mr. Pinek had a wife and five children, three daughters: Estera, Ita and Sosze, and two sons: Josek and Icek. Their youngest daughter, Sosze, was my classmate because Jewish and non-Jewish children would go to the same school. I also remember the Laja family, especially the young boy, Bolek, who became my friend. He was slightly older than me. Whenever we worked in the field, he would come to give us matza and apples. Jews from Brzeziny were mainly farmers. There was no synagogue in here. Jews would assemble to pray in a small wooden hut located nearby (…)”. (Witness N°1174, interviewed in Brzeziny, on October 24, 2020)
"1943-1944: German policemen shot 20 Jews from Brzeziny. The bodies were buried in different locations, notably in the forest." [Rejestr miejsc i faktów zbrodni popełnionych przez okupanta hitlerowskiego na ziemiach polskich w latach 1939-1945: województwo podkarpackie / [opracowanie, Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce przy współudziale Okregowej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Lodzi] (Register of places and facts of crimes committed by the Nazi occupied on Polish soil in 1939-1945: Subcarpathian Voivodeship)]
Brzeziny is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Wielopole Skrzyńskie, within Ropczyce-Sędziszów County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in south-eastern Poland. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Brzeziny was mainly inhabited by polish Catholics and several Jewish families. Jews from Brzeziny were merchants and small farmers. The closest important Jewish community lived in Wielopole Skrzyńskie, located about 5km from Brzeziny. In 1939, there were 735 Jews living in Wielopole Skrzyńskie which represented 59% of the total population of the town.
When the Second World War broke out, all the Jews from Brzeziny received an order from the local administration to pack all necessary belongings and go to Wielopole Skrzyńskie, located about 5km from Brzeziny. This most probably happened in 1940, when the Germans created a ghetto in Wielopole Skrzyńskie and started to deport Jewish residents there from different localities. Among others, about 150 Jews from nearby villages and about 1,500 Jews from Lodz were placed in the Wielopole ghetto, increasing the number of Jews residing in the town up to circa. 2,000 people. On June 30, 1942, 56 elderly and sick Jews were shot by the occupiers at the local Jewish cemetery. The remaining Jews from the town were deported to the Ropczyce ghetto located about 17km north from Wielopole Skrzyńskie. A month later, the Jews from the Ropczyce ghetto, among them those from Wielopole Skrzyńskie and surrounding villages, were deported in trains to the Belzec extermination camp.
A few Brzeziny Jews managed to avoid the deportation to Wielopole Skrzyńskie and hide in Brzeziny. They were successively hunted down and executed in several individual shootings. The available archives mention at least 20 such executions perpetrated in different places in Brzeziny by German policemen, mostly in the nearby forest in 1943-1944. YIU’s witness, Jerzy S., born in 1933, remembered the shooting of his friend, Bolek Laja. His body was buried in a nearby forest by two requisitioned men and remains there until this day. Jerzy S. recalled another shooting of a Jewish young woman and her 3-year-old daughter. Both victims were originally from the village of from Berdechów, located 3,5km from Brzeziny.
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