Krasnystaw | Lublin Voivodeship

Krasnystaw, Poland, Jewish youths from the local yeshiva. None would survive. © Yad Vashem Photo Collection How the Krasnystaw synagogue looked. A building was reconstructed on the land where the shul stood. ©Taken from sztetl.org.pl / Mieczyslaw C., born in 1926 : «I was requisitioned by the soltys to go to the Krasnystaw railway station with my cart. When I arrived there I saw lots of old Jewish women. » © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Wieslawa N., born in 1929:”We were coming back from school when we saw two Germans with one very beautiful Jewish girl aged about 16. They shot her with a pistol on a road behind the Jewish cemetery.”  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Mieczyslaw S., born in 1929:” The Germans separated 12 young Jews from the main group to dig a pit. Then, 20 carts arrived at the site in the forest. There was a Jewish woman with about 6 children and one newborn.”  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum’s team interviewing one of the witnesses in Krasnystaw.  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Synagogue in Krasnystaw built in 1900. In 1941, the synagogue was destroyed by the Germans. The building was renovated after the war.  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Krasnystaw.  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum Borek forest where mass executions took place according to the Polish archives and Yahad’s witnesses. Unfortunately, the exact number of the victims remains unknown.  © Christian Monterroso  /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Krasnystaw

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
Unknown

Witness interview

Wieslawa N., born in 1929: “One Jewish family called Binder hid in our house for 6 months. My mother managed to baptize an 8-year-old Jewish girl and sent her to Lviv. Later, someone denounced the family and the Germans came to our house. The Jewish boy, aged 15, tried to flee but was shot near the river. They took the mother. I don’t know what happened to her. There was another shooting I also witnessed. We were coming back from school when we saw two Germans with one very beautiful Jewish girl aged about 16. They shot her with a pistol on a road behind the Jewish cemetery. We heard how she was shouting”. (Testimony n°758, interviewed in Krasnystaw, on October 10, 2017).

Polish Archives

Site not commemorated, forgotten. Historical data: At this site, Jews and Poles were shot in mass throughout the period of Nazi occupation in Poland. After the liberation in 1944, the ashes and corpses were partially transported to Krasnystaw cemetery. [Deposition of ZHP – Polish Scouting and Guiding Association, 28 people of Walentyna Tiereszkowa team, IPN :GK 195/VIII/9]

Historical note

Krasnystaw is a town located 55 km south of Lublin. The first records regarding the Jews in Krasnystaw date back to the 15th century. Until the first half of the 19th century, the possibility for Jews to settle in the town was restricted.  In 1857, 151 Jews lived in the town making up only 4% of the entire population, which was much lower than in the other towns of the Lublin region. The Jews lived off handcraft and small-scale trade. The majority of them lived in the center. By the end of the 19th century about 1,763 Jews lived in Krasnystaw. A synagogue, a mikvah and a house of prayer were established. Zionist, as well as many other political movements, were active in the interwar period. Six Jewish elementary schools (cheders) were also opened in the town. On the eve of the war, in August 1939, the Jewish community numbered approximately 2,500 people, comprising only 25% of the total population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Krasnystaw was occupied by the Germans on September 18, 1939. Immediately after the German arrival, 7 Jews were hanged on the pretext of being resistant. From mid-September to early October the town was taken over by Soviet troops that then retreated on October 7-8. About 1,000 Jews managed to evacuate with the Soviets. In January 1940 a Judenrat was established and all Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor.  In early August an open ghetto was created in the poorest Jewish neighborhood, Grobla, which was separated by the Wieprz river from the rest of the town. From early May 1941 to April 1942, hundreds of the ghetto inmates were resettled in different villages or even sometimes taken directly to the railway station and sent to Belzec to make space for the newcomers. By April 1942, only 150-200 Jews remained in Krasnystaw. Somewhere in that time a transit ghetto was established in Krasnystaw where 1,000 Reich, Czech and Slovak Jews were brought.  On May 13, about 6,000 Jews from the Kreis were all relocated in the transit ghetto but they didn’t stay long there. The next day, 600-700 of them were deported to Majdanek, while the remaining 5,000 Jews were taken to the Sobibor camp where they were gassed.  According to the Polish archives, throughout the occupation the Jews and Poles were shot en masse in the Borek forest. Many isolated shootings occured at the Jewish cemetery. The ghetto in Krasnystaw was finally liquidated in October 1942. All the Jews from the Kreis were first confined in the Izbica ghetto and then sent to Bełżec or Sobibór. 

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