Kazimierz Dolny | Lublin Voivodeship

Execution of Jews in Kazimierz Dolny

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1939-1944
Number of victims :
Dozens

Witness interview

Wojciech P., born in 1933: “First, the Germans gathered all the Jews in one place, and then they started to take them away. In the course of two or three weeks they were all taken to Belzec or Majdanek. I am not sure which. My father had a cart, so he was requisitioned. […]Some Jews were shot here. The Gestapo soldiers installed in the monastery shot the Jews at the old Jewish cemetery on the Czerniawy street, because the new Jewish cemetery had been destroyed when the Germans arrived.” (Witness n°765, interviewed in Kazimierz Dolny, on October 13, 2017).

Historical note

Kazimierz Dolny is a town located on the banks of the Vistula River about 30 km west of Lublin. The Jewish community in Kazimierz Dolny dates back to the early 15th century, according to the historical sources. A Jewish cemetery was established in the early 16th century. At the end of the 18th century, a stone synagogue was built on Lubelska street replacing the previous wooden one. The Jews from Kazimierz Dolny lived mostly in the center and made their livings off small trade and handicrafts. In 1810, there were 731 Jews, making up one third of the entire population. This number rose drastically over the following century and by 1907, according to census figures, 2,670 Jews lived in Kazimierz Dolny, comprising 89% of its total population.  After World War I the Jewish community decreased to 1,382 people in 1921. In the interwar period, there was a mikvah, a house of prayer and two Jewish cemeteries in the town. Several Jewish political parties and organizations were active in the town. Jewish private schools, including a Hebrew school, and a library were opened. On the eve of the German occupation in 1939, the Jewish community numbered 2,500 Jews (64% of the population).

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kazimierz Dolny was occupied by the Germans in September 1939. A Judenrat and a Jewish police were created. All the Jews were ordered to wear distinctive armbands bearing the Star of David. The Gestapo had their headquarters in the Franciscan monastery. In March 1940 an open ghetto in Kazimierz Dolny was established on the Lubelska and Nadrzeczna streets. The Jews were not allowed to leave its territory. The ghetto contained about 2,000 Jews including those who were displaced from the nearing villages; Pulawy, for instance. In the same year, about 50 Jews were confined in a labor camp established in a former brewery located on Pulawska street.

In spring 1941 all the Jews from Kazimierz Dolny had to be resettled to Opole Lubelskie because of a project to create a holiday resort for the Germans in the town. Even though that project was not implemented, approximately 200-300 Jews were resettled. Due to inhuman living conditions, lack of food and overcrowding, a typhus epidemic broke out in late 1941, killing many Jews. The last resettlement took place in March 1942, when 300-400 Jews were marched on foot to the ghetto in Opole Lubelskie and from there to Naleczow railway station. Three days after, another group of 300-500 Jews was taken by the local SS detachment to Opole Lubelskie. On March 30, 1942, approximately 500 Jews were taken directly from Kazimierz Dolny to Naleczow. 2,400 Jews altogether rounded up in Naleczow were loaded onto trains and sent to the Belzec concentration camp where they were gassed. The detainees from the labor camp were also murdered once the work was done. In October 1942, they were taken to an unknown destination. According to a survivor who knew them they could have been killed in the Majdanek camp.  The remaining Jewish craftsmen were shot by the Germans in the fall 1943 at the new Jewish cemetery on Czerniawy street.

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