1 Execution site(s)
Boleslaw M., born in 1931, recalls: “I saw with my own eyes when the Nazis brought a mother with her three children, aged 9 to 10 years old, to the market place. First, they first shot the mother and then the children. The children began to cry since they saw everything that happened. It is horrible to explain.” (Witness n°569, interviewed in Polaniec on April, 8th 2016)
“1/Date and place of executions: October 1942 – June 1944 in Polaniec.
2/ Type of execution: Shooting.
3/ Data concerning the killed people:
Poles, Jews, foreigners: 19 Poles and 55 Jews.
How many people: 74.
Where were the victims from: From Polaniec
Name, age, job, address: There were 1,200 Jews in Polaniec and 1,500 Jewish refugees. Among them, it was established that 55 Jews were shot. The destiny of the other Jews is unknown.
6/ Are the name of the perpetrators known: Leutnant Demajer from Sandomierz, Majester Elemann from Staszow, Leutantn Rerret from Staszow, gendarme Krazer from Staszow, Majster Janczewski from Staszow.” [Questionnaire on mass executions and mass graves n°580 (Miejscowosc: Polaniec, Gmina: Polaniec, Powiat: Sandomierz, Wojewodztwo: Kieleckie].
Polaniec is located 80km south-east of Kielce, on the banks of the Wistula River. The first record about the Jews in Polaniec dates back to the mid-16th century. The community was quite significant: they mostly lived in the city center, near the market place. In 1789, 23% of the population was Jewish. By the middle of the 19th century, 750 Jewish people lived in the village. In 1921, according to an official census, there were 1,025 Jews. They were mainly craftsmen and owners of small shops. They had a synagogue and their own cemetery, mikveh, and a Talmud Tora school. In 1929, the fire destroyed the school, synagogue, and mikveh, as well as about a hundred households. At the beginning of the 20th century several branches of the Zionist movement operated in the village. On the eve of the war 864 Jews lived in the village.
Polaniec was occupied by Germans on September 5, 1939. The persecutions of the Jews started straight after the occupation, even though the executions were conducted only from 1942. In October 1940, some 1,200 Jews were brought to Polaniec from the nearby villages. In March 1941, another 300 Jews, including Jews from Vienna, were brought to Polaniec. An open area where the majority of Jews were confined was created in 1941, but it was officially called a ghetto starting in June 1942. The ghetto numbered about 2,000 people. Due to bad living conditions, a typhus epidemic broke out. According to the local witnesses, the ghetto was guarded by Jewish police and it was forbidden for the Jews to leave its territory. However, the Poles were allowed to enter the ghetto on different occasions. The ghetto was liquidated in October 1942, when the Jews were rounded up at the market place and transferred to the Staszow ghetto. From there they were deported to the Treblinka death camp in November 1942. Those Jews who were too weak or too old were shot on the spot, as well as those who were found in hiding. The ac tion was conducted by a special German unit with the assistance of Ukrainian auxiliaries and Polish Granatowa (Blue) Police. Throughout 1942 and until 1944, several isolated executions took place in Polaniec, as a result of which, 55 Jews and 19 Poles were murdered. Their bodies were buried at the local Jewish cemetery by an employee of the local administration.
For more information about the killings in Staszow please refer to the corresponding profile
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