Mielec | Subcarpathian Voivodeship

/ Photo of the Mielec synagogue in 1902. The Bes Hamedrish [House of Study] is the building on the left. The Kloyz [Small Prayer House] is the building on the left. ©Copyright 2005 Kolbuszowa Region Research Group/Bewished Photo of the burnt the Mielec Synagogue taken in the Winter of 1939. ©Copyright 2005 Kolbuszowa Region Research Group/Bewished A monument at the site of a synagogue burned by the Germans in September 1939, commemorating approximately 80 Jews burned alive that day. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The location where the house of the Jew, Doctor Zaiden, once stood, along with the house of prayer for the Jews residing in Borek, is now occupied by a supermarket. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum During World War II, the Germans desecrated Mielec’s 16th/17th-century Jewish cemetery located on Jadernych Street. Tombstones from the cemetery were repurposed for construction, roads, and damming the Wisłoka River. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The place where the selection of Jews took place before the execution in Borek village. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Genowefa M., born in 1931: “The Germans set the synagogue on fire with dozens of Jews inside. My brother saw the bodies of Jews burned inside, their clothes and skin were scorched by fire.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Tadeusz M., born in 1936: “One day, I saw three Jewish women being taken by four Germans to the Jewish cemetery called ‘the new one’. Women were shot with a pistol and buried in one grave, dug by a requisitioned Pole.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Józefa O., born in 1934: “On the day of the shooting, a column of Jews passed down the street where I lived. Two carts were following the column - one for goods, the other for people shot on the spot.” ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Józefa O., born in 1934: "The column passed in front of my house. Weak and elderly people who couldn’t keep up with the column were beaten with rifle butts and shot by the Germans escorting them." ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Ireneusz I., born in 1930: “Several men caught in the field near the execution site, as well as the peasants of Zlotniki, were requisitioned by the soltys to transport the bodies of dead Jews to the pit and bury them.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Ireneusz I., born in 1930: “The requisitioned men were guarded by a German on horseback. Later, they explained how they had to stack the bodies of the Jews in the grave like bales of hay.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The street along which the Germans led the column of Jews to the shooting site in Borek. Many elderly and sick Jews, too weak to follow the column, were killed by the Germans along the way. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Jewish cemetery called ‘the new one’ at Traugutta Street in Mielec. According to witness’ testimonies, during the Second World War the Germans carried out numerous executions of Jews and Poles here. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Mass grave of approximately 300 Jews at Swierkowa and Wspólna Streets (new Borek estate) in Mielec, killed on March 9, 1942, by German gendarmes from the Mielec post, including Josef G. and Karol P.. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Memorial at the mass grave of about 300 Jewish victims killed by the Germans in Borek in March 1942. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad - In Unum Execution site and grave of 4 Jews taken off the train and killed by the Germans. The bodies of the victims were moved to the Jewish cemetery after the war. Today it’s a private parking area. There is no memorial at the site. ©Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad In Unum

Execution of Jews in Mielec

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery (1); field (2); sand hill (3)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Over 1000

Witness interview

Tadeusz M., born in 1936: "Jews were forced to work in the aircraft factory, all wearing armbands adorned with the Star of David. On the day of the execution, a column of Jews crossed the street where I lived, heading towards the factory. Two carts accompanied the column: one for goods, the other for those unable to walk, who were executed on the spot. The two carts followed the column, comprised of women, men, and children, with Germans escorting the procession every 20-50 meters. The Jews were stopped on the factory grounds, where segregation occurred. One group was transported to the Pustków camp, while another remained to work in the factory. The elderly, women, and children were shot in the fields of Złotniki. The shooting was visible from my house. The Jews were taken to the other side of the barracks on site, where a machine gun was positioned on a bunker approximately 200-300 meters away. Subsequently, some 400 to 500 people (men, women, and children) were shot and buried on the spot. A memorial has been erected there." (Witness N°1192P, interviewed in Mielec, on November 27, 2020)

Polish Archives

13.09.1939 (probably): On the eve of the Jewish New Year holiday, a few dozen were Jews gathered in the 3 synagogues on the market square. Wehrmacht soldiers from Army Group South (under the command of Major M.) took 50-70 Jews from the 3 synagogues into the butcher’s shop building, whose doors and windows were locked. They began shooting the Jews inside, then poured gasoline on the building and set it on fire. No data on the names of the victims is available. [ AGK, GK Survey, Rzeszow Province, "Executions," Mielec. GK, Verdict in the case of Walter T.; GK, Dan. 13/94/73/"W" 1104/; Jellenta S., War Crimes of Field Marshal Mannstein, "For Freedom and the People," 1959, no. 4, p.17.]

Historical note

Mielec is the largest city and the seat of Mielec County. Located in southeastern Poland (Lesser Poland), in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship, Mielec lies 49 km (30.4mi) northwest of Rzeszów, the capital of the region, and 221 km (137mi) southeast of Warsaw.

Before the Second World War, Mielec boasted a vibrant Jewish community with a rich history dating back centuries, as records indicate Jewish settlement in the area as early as the 16th century. Over time, this community flourished, making significant contributions to the town’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.

Prior to the war, Mielec’s Jewish population was diverse, engaged in various professions and trades. Many worked as artisans, merchants, and small business owners, while others were involved in the region’s textile industry, which held significant importance. Additionally, the community had its religious and educational institutions, including synagogues, schools, and charitable organizations.

Social life in pre-war Mielec centered around the Jewish community center, where residents gathered for religious services, cultural events, and socializing. Despite occasional tensions with the non-Jewish population, Jews were generally integrated into the town’s fabric.

Emigration from Mielec escalated in the 1930s, with 691 Jews leaving Mielec County for Palestine and 1,555 departing for Western European countries and the United States between 1937 and 1938.

Before the outbreak of the war, Mielec was home to 5,420 Jews, including refugees from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Free City of Gdansk. This population represented approximately 55% of the town’s total population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On the eve of the Rosh ha-Shanah holiday, on September 13, 1939, the Germans occupied Mielec. Immediately after seizing the city, they burned more than 80 Jews alive in the local synagogue and ritual slaughterhouse, while 22 were shot at the airport in Berdechów.

Soon after, in the early autumn of 1939, the Germans established a labor camp in Mielec known as Heinkel Flugzeugwerk Mielec, a branch of the Heinkel Aircraft Works. This camp, situated within the premises of the pre-war Państwowe Zakłady Lotnicze (Polish Aviation Works), housed 500-600 prisoners per barracks, including both Poles and Jews from various regions like Tarnobrzeg, Radomyśl Wielki, and Pustków. Both men and women prisoners worked at the Aviation Works until the camp’s dissolution in July 1944. At that point, with 2,100 prisoners in the camp, most detainees were transferred to the Wieliczka camp, while those who were sick and unable to work were shot on the spot.

Throughout 1940, abductions for forced labor became more frequent, both in Mielec itself and in the surrounding areas. In early 1940, a Jewish Council (Judenrat) was established in the town.

In 1941, the Germans created a ghetto in Mielec, where all the city’s Jews were grouped together in a special district under German surveillance.

 Witnesses interviewed by Yahad confirm that many shootings of Jewish people took place in the local Jewish cemetery during the entire period of the German occupation.

 The liquidation of the Jewish populace gathered within the Mielec ghetto began on March 9, 1942. Gestapo units executed approximately 300 individuals in a field in the village of Borek, a district of Mielec today, where a memorial now stands. Around 1,000 individuals perished in these actions during this period. The executions in Borek were carried out by gendarmes from the Mielec post, including Josef G. and Karol P. Following the executions, gendarmes dispatched a messenger to the mayor of the nearby Złotniki village, instructing him to assemble individuals for the burial of the victims. Accompanied by a group of over 30 Poles tasked with the burial, 54 young Jews from Chorzelów were also mobilized. The victims were transported by carts to a location slightly off the main road and interred along what are now Swierkowa and Wspólna streets. Additionally, the bodies of those killed during the march, found in roadside ditches, were conveyed to the communal grave via carts.

 Witnesses interviewed by Yahad also indicated an execution site not mentioned in the archives, a sand hill in the former village of Borek, today a district of Mielec. According to the witnesses, four Jews, two women and two men, caught on a train bound for Krakow, were shot and buried on this sand hill.

Subsequently, on March 13, the deportation of the remaining Jewish population began, spanning five days. While the youth were dispatched to labor camps in Pustków, around 500 others were transported to neighboring ghettos, ultimately meeting their fate in the Bełżec extermination camp. Mielec thus became the first city within the General Government to be declared "judenrein" – ’free of Jews’ by the Germans. Historians estimate that about 300 Mielec Jews survived until the end of the war.


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