1 Execution site(s)
Antoni K., born in 1931:
“Before the war, almost a half of the total town’s population was Jewish. The Jews lived mainly along the main street. Jewish and non-Jewish children would go to the same local school. The relations between both communities were good. The Jews were mainly merchants and artisans. I remember many Jewish neighbors and pre-war inhabitants of Czudec, among others Mr. Kile, our baker, Mr. Szpajzer who was a butcher, Mr. Nebemcal who owned one of the shops and another baker, Mrs. Ryfka. We used to call her “Black Ryfka” because of her hair color. I also recall Mr. Krochmalny but I don’t remember his profession. There was a synagogue in town that was located on the corner of a square market. A rabbi, a serious, older man with long beard and sidelocks, lived in a house nearby. He used to wear black clothes and black hat. All the orthodox Jews from Czudec used to wear black clothes, white socks and sidelocks. Nor far for the synagogue there was a Jewish cemetery. It was quite big, fenced with a brick wall, but it was destroyed during and after the war. The matzevotes from the cemetery were transported to Rzeszow where they were used to pave sidewalks (…)”. (Witness N°1183, interviewed in Czudec, on October 29, 2020)
Czudec is a town in Strzyżów County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in southeastern Poland. It lies about 20km north-west of Rzeszów, the capital of the Subcarpathian region. The first mention in the records of the Jews from Czudec dates back to 1499. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Annals of the Przemyśl Diocese recorded 6,970 Catholics and 1,026 Jews living in Czudec. The synagogue was built in Czudec in the 19th century. It was located on the corner of the market square, the central square of the town. There was also a Jewish cemetery in the town. Most of the local Jews were merchants and craftsmen, which made Czudec a center of local trade for inhabitants of nearby towns and villages, especially thanks to weekly markets organized in town. Yahad witness Antoni K., born in 1931, remembered that before the outbreak of the Second World War, Jewish and non-Jewish children would go the same local school. He also recalled several of his prewar Jewish neighbors: “Mr. Kile owned a bakery in town. Mr. Szpajzer was a butcher and Mr. Nebemcal was a shopkeeper. There was also female baker, Rywka. We called her Black Rywka because of her dark hair. I also remember a local rabbi, an older, very elegant man with long beard. He lived in a house called rabinówka near the synagogue (…)” In 1939, 376 Jews lived in Czudec, representing more than 35% of the town’s total population.
When the Second world war broke out in September 1939 and the German occupation of Czudec began, the new German authorities set up a Jewish council, Judenrat, in town. According to the Jewish Council, there were 494 Jews living in Czudec in November 1940. About 80-100 newcomers were transferred to the town by the Germans, mainly from Kalisz, Kraków and Lodz. The Germans closed almost all the Jewish stores and workshops. Only 11 craftsmen could continue to work with the Germans’ permission. Other fit for work Jews were obliged to perform forced labor in town or in different labor camps outside Czudec. One historical source mentions the establishment of the ghetto in Czudec in late 1941 or early 1942. However, our witnesses did not confirm that information. In March 1942, 80 Jews from the nearby village of Lubenia were transferred to Czudec. Permanent Jewish inhabitants of Boguchwała (a village located about 13km from Czudec), including the families: Apfelbaum, Goldblatt, Hirschom, Kranz, Leber, Reichenheil and Sturmlafer, were sent to Czudec. Other groups of Jews from different neighboring villages followed. Kreis Reichshof [in polish: Rzeszów County] was ordered to be ‘cleansed of Jews’ (judenrein) by the German authorities as one of the first counties of the Krakau Distrikt. For this reason, many smaller ghettos from this region were liquidated between June 25-27, 1942. It is very likely that at that same moment, the Jewish inhabitants of Czudec were resettled in the Rzeszów ghetto, from which they were most probably deported to Belzec extermination camp as early as July 1942.
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