1 Execution site(s)
Józef H., born in 1933: “I was born in 1933 in the village of Chochoły, which is now the part of the town. At the time there were many Jews living in the area. There were several Jewish families in Chochoły, one of them owned an inn. But most of the Jews lived in Ropczyce, in the ‘Wola’ neighborhood. They had two synagogues, a mikveh (ritual bath) and a Jewish cemetery. The Jews from Ropczyce were mainly merchants and small artisans: tailors, shoemakers, etc. I remember a Jewish man, Fisko, who had a store where we used to go to do our groceries. Many Jews used to do what we called ‘itinerant trade’: they would come to nearby villages, such as Chochoły, to buy and sell different goods. Jewish and non-Jewish children attended the same school, but I remember that Jewish children had their own school in town as well. When the Second World War broke out, the town was bombed, and our church was destroyed.
There was a granatowa police station in Ropczyce, the Germans were stationed here too. At the very beginning of the German occupation, the Jews could continue to live and work freely, but every day, the persecution became more and more severe (…)”. (Witness N°1175, interviewed in Ropczyce, on October 26, 2020)
“Spring 1943: one gendarme and two members of Sonderdienst (German: Special Services) shot ten Jews at the Jewish cemetery: seven men, two women and one infant.”
[Rejestr miejsc i faktów zbrodni popełnionych przez okupanta hitlerowskiego na ziemiach polskich w latach 1939-1945: województwo podkarpackie / [opracowanie, Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce przy współudziale Okregowej Komisji Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Lodzi] (Register of places and facts of crimes committed by the Nazi occupied on Polish soil in 1939-1945: Subcarpathian Voivodeship)]
Ropczyce is a town in Subcarpathian Voivodeship in south-eastern Poland. It is a seat of Ropczyce- Sędziszów County.In 1871, there were about 1,433 Jews living in Ropczyce which represented about 36% of the total population of the town. At the turn of the 20th century, the number of Jews started to decrease, mainly due to migration motivated caused by increasing economic hardship, a trend that continued for decades. It was also caused by the anti-Jewish riots which took place in the last decade of the 19th century not only in Ropczyce, but also in neighboring town and villages, such as Frysztak or Wielopole Skrzyńskie. As a result, the town was inhabited by 840 Jews by 1921. However, the Jewish community continued to occupy an important place within Ropczyce society. It owned three synagogues, a Jewish cemetery, several schools as well as charity and political organizations. In 1939, 1,054 Jews lived in the town. According to YIU’s witness Józef H., born in 1933, the Jews from Ropczyce mainly lived in a neighborhood called “Wola”: “There was a wooden synagogue in the Jewish neighborhood, ‘Wola’, which was burnt down when the Germans arrived in the town. The second synagogue was a brick building located in the center of the town. Right next to it, there was also a mikveh (ritual bath). Both buildings were dismantled after the war. There was also a Jewish cemetery. Jews from Ropczyce were mainly traders and small artisans.”
According to YIU’s witness Józef H., born in 1933, the town was bombed during the first days of the war. The German army occupied Ropczyce in September 1939. Soon after their arrival, the Judenrat was created with Izaak Libermann, the last rabbi of the town, at the head of it. Very quickly, the Jews from Ropczyce were submitted to new restrictions, such as the wearing of armbands with a star of David. In 1940, a ghetto was created in the town, in the “Wola” quarter, previously predominantly inhabited by Jews. Many Jews from neighboring towns and villages were resettled in the Ropczyce ghetto, which, according to Józef H., “was fenced with a wooden fence and guarded by Jewish police as well as Polish granatowa policemen.” The Jews from the ghetto were submitted to forced labor. Most of them had to work on the construction of the Nazi concentration camp in Pustków, in which many of them were imprisoned by the end of 1940. The successive deportation of the ghetto inmates started in 1942. Several hundred out of over a thousand Jews residing in the Rompczyce ghetto at the time were transported to Sędziszów and Dębica ghettos, as well as to the Pustków concentration camp and the Bełżec death camp. The final liquidation of the Ropczyce ghetto was carried out in July 1942. The elderly and children were killed on the spot, while others were sent to Bełżec death camp via Sędziszów. Józef H. recalled that “the day of the deportation of Jews to Sędziszów, my father, along with other farmers, was requisitioned with his cart and sent to the square market. They were supposed to drive elderly and sick people to the Sędziszów train station, while young and healthy Jews had to walk until there on foot to be deported to the Bełżec extermination camp. But in fact, all the carts with elderly Jews stopped at the Jewish cemetery, where they were shot (…)”. An unknown number of Jews managed to avoid the deportation and hide in Ropczyce and the surrounding area, but they were successively hunted down and executed at the local Jewish cemetery. Available archival sources mention ten Jews killed in the course of such executions perpetrated at the Jewish cemetery in spring 1943. Today, the Jewish cemetery is almost completely overgrown by vegetation. However, it is fenced with a wall. There is an ohel, as well as a monument commemorating the Jewish victims of Ropczyce community assassinated during the German occupation. According to YIU’s witness, Józef H., the tombstones were robbed after the war and used to pave the sidewalks along Wyszynskiego Street.
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