1 Execution site(s)
Maria K., born in 1929: “I remember a Jewish family from Czajkowa who ran a small local shop. The family also had a small plot of land and a cow. The man’s name was Lejzor, he had a wife and three daughters: Ruchla, Felka and Peska. Lejzor’s sister was married to a Catholic man from the village. She converted to Catholicism and the Germans did not kill her. She survived the war, but her family didn’t… When the war began, Lejzor’s family was forced to leave the house and to start living in hiding. My father helped them build an underground hideout in a nearby forest. It was a good hiding place, they even had a furnace inside, and on the top, they planted trees. Many villagers knew about them and used to provide them with food and fresh milk. Sometimes they would come to our house and my mother would let them stay for a while to warm up a little. One day, shortly before the end of the war, their hiding place was discovered by a local forester. He was a Volksdeutch. He followed the footprints on a fresh snow and found them. When the Germans came for them, their older daughter was in the village, she had gone there to find something to eat. When I saw her on her way back, I stopped her and told her that her family had been caught by the Germans. I said to her: ‘Don’t go there, they are going to kill you too.’ She said: ‘I have no other place to stay, no place to go, no one would help me. If my parents die, I’ll die with them’ and she left. She was 13 years old… The whole family, five people, was taken to Babule forest where they were shot and buried. But no one knows where exactly their mass grave is located. The forest has changed, the place is probably completely overgrown with vegetation, and it is impossible to reach (…)” (Witness N°1193P, interviewed in Czajkowa, on November 28, 2020)
“In August 1942, a German shot 7 Jews from the Brenner family. The bodies were buried at the place of execution, next to the Czajkowa-Majdan Kolbuszowski road, 100m from the village.” [Register of places and facts of crimes committed by the Nazi occupation in Poland in 1939-1945]
Czajkowa is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Tuszów Narodowy, within Mielec County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in southeastern Poland. It lies approximately 13 km north-east of Mielec, and 53 km (33mi) northwest of the regional capital Rzeszów. According to available sources, there were about 15 Jews living in Czajkowa before the war. There was no synagogue or house of prayer and the local Jews would go to the synagogue in Mielec. They also shared Jewish cemeteries, schools and kosher butchers with Jewish communities from nearby villages. According to Maria and Bronislaw K., witnesses interviewed by Yahad - In Unum in November 2020, Several Jewish families left Czajkowa long before the beginning of the war. On the eve of the war, only two Jewish families lived in Czajkowa. One of them was the family of Mr. Lejzor, who ran a small local shop. He had a wife and three children. The whole family was killed by the Germans during the occupation.
Available historical sources do not give much information on the pre-was Jewish community, nor any details on the German occupation in Czajkowa. Mielec, the capital of the region, was taken by German troops on the September 13, 1939. It was probably soon after that the Germans had occupied Czajkowa and nearby villages. According to one Yahad - In Unum witness, a German post office was established in Biesiadka, a village located 20 km north of Czajkowa.
Maria and Bronisław K. told the Yahad - In Unum team about two executions of Jews perpetrated by the Germans during the Nazi occupation. The first one was a shooting of a family of five named Lejzor from Czajkowa. They were discovered in hiding by a local forest ranger, denounced to the Germans, and shot in the forest near the village of Babule, located about 6 km from Czajkowa. Unfortunately, the Yahad team was unable to locate the execution site because all possible witnesses of this killing have since passed away.
A second shooting took place in Czajkowa near the old wooden house, in which seven Jews, four women and three men from Sarnów, a village located 3 km from Czajkowa, had found shelter during the German occupation. After some time of living in hiding, a local farmer denounced them to the Germans who were passing through the village. The latter requisitioned two villagers to dig a pit next to the house. They would take the Jews out of the house, one by one, lead them to the edge of the pit and shoot them with a pistol. One Jewish girl tried to flee but she was caught and executed with the others. After the shooting, the same two villagers had to fill the pit in. Before leaving Czajkowa, the Germans set the house on fire. After the war, the victims’ bodies were exhumed and reburied in a Jewish cemetery in Mielec. Today, the execution site remains without memorial. It is used by locals as public waste disposal area. Maria K. remembered the names of some of the victims: Luzer, Mosiek, Mordka. According to Maria and Bronisław K., Maciej and Zofia Dudzik from Czajkowa hid two Jews in a dugout in their barn during the German occupation. From available information, we have learned that the two Jewish boys helped by the Dudzik family were Zyga and Salek Allwais, sons of Jakub and Estera Allwais from nearby Jaślany, both of whom perished during the Nazi occupation. After the war, Zyga and Salek Allwais, saved by Dudzik family, emirgrated to the United States. In 2007, Maciej and Zofia Dudzic from Czajkowa were posthumously named “Righteous among the Nations” for saving the Allwais brothers.
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