1 Execution site(s)
Mieczysław S., born in 1935: “Before the war, there were Jews, Poles and Germans living in Łopuszno. The Jews were mainly traders and craftsmen: shopkeepers, dressmakers, dyers, shoemakers. The wife of a Jew named Gołębiowski was a hairdresser and had a small hair salon. Another Jew, Zamorski, was a baker. A Jewish woman named Janklowa had a store where she sold candy, among other things. I also remember the Jews named Smolarz and Reisman, but I do not remember what they did for living. There was a synagogue near Ogrodowa Street. It was made of wood. The mikveh was in the same building as the synagogue. Today, the property belongs to my neighbor. There was a Jewish cemetery in the forest, it was not fenced in. There was a Jewish municipality in town (Jewish gmina) and they had their own administration building. When the war began, there were many German gendarmes in Łopuszno. They did not have translators because two gendarmes, Nikiel and Roude, spoke Polish. The German families had good relations with the locals but during the war they fled. When the gendarmerie left, they left with them.” (Witness N°1354P, interviewed in Łopuszno, on September 24, 2022)
Łopuszno is a city in Kielce County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It is the seat of the administrative district of Gmina Łopuszno. It lies approximately 27 km (17 mi) west of the regional capital, Kielce. Jews began settling in the region during the 16th century, attracted by the economic opportunities offered by trade and commerce. Over time, the Jewish population grew, and by the late 19th century, they constituted a significant portion of the city’s inhabitants. From the end of the 18th century, the Polish population of Łopuszno lived in a multinational society, which included Catholics and Germans. The origins of their residence in the city are linked to the second German colonization, which lasted from the beginning of the 19th century. In 1894, Jews made up 61% of the population in Łopuszno, and a year before the war this had risen to 74%. At the beginning of the 20th century, around 1903, a brick synagogue on Przedborska Street in Łopuszno was built using Jewish contributions. A few years later a mikvah, or ritual bath, was built. The synagogue hosted a rich religious library. Prior to the Second World War, the city had a vibrant Jewish community that played an important role in the town’s cultural and economic life. In terms of economic activities, Jews in Łopuszno were involved in various trades and businesses. Many worked as merchants, artisans, and peddlers, contributing to the local economy. In 1937, there were 682 Jews in Łopuszno.
German soldiers reached Łopuszno on September 5, 1939. From the beginning of the war, a gendarmerie station had been established in Łopuszno, resulting in severe repression against the Polish and Jewish inhabitants. In 1939, a number of Jews chose to leave Łopuszno. Approximately 150-200 individuals remained in the village, where they were permitted to continue residing in their homes and pursue their occupations. Among the earliest restrictions imposed on the Jewish population were regulations pertaining to clandestine slaughter and illegal trade. Over time, the Jews of Łopuszno were even prohibited from leaving the village, with their houses marked by the Star of David. Younger Jews were coerced into arduous labor, including road construction, digging drainage ditches, and collecting corn on the court’s field after the harvest, all while under the watchful eyes of gendarmes. In 1940, Jews from neighboring villages, such as Piotrowiec, Olszówka, and Gnieździsk, were forcibly relocated to Łopuszno. In the same year, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated, its stone graves shattered and repurposed to pave the area in front of the gendarmerie station on the market square. In 1942, the repressions intensified. Jews were subjected to merciless abuse and persecution for minor transgressions. Executions commonly took place near the Jewish and Catholic cemeteries, with several recorded near the Jewish cemetery. In August 1942, a mass displacement of Jews to 65 designated towns commenced in the General Government. The Jews from Łopuszno were ordered to vacate their homes and were forcibly herded onto the market square by the Kielce Gestapo. From there, they were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp in September 1942.
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