Wizna | Podlaskie Voivodship

Jan G., born in 1929: “Once a group of Jews was lined up at the edge of the pit, someone gave an order to fire with a flag and they fired.” © Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview © Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Janina D. points out at the execution site where she saw a wounded Jewish lady feeding the baby. © Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum The blacksmith’s house where the Jews were killed with a grenade was located at this place. The rest of the bodies were transported to the cemetery at 3m way. © Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Janina D., born in 1925: “I saw a Jewish lady who was feeding her baby. Her face was covered with blood.” © Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Wizna

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Smith house
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1944
Number of victims :
Several dozen

Witness interview

Janina D., born in 1925, recalls: “I saw a Jewish lady who was feeding her baby. Her face was covered with blood. She was injured as a result of the grenade explosion in the Jewish house. She looked terrible. My friend and I ran away when we saw her. Oh, she was all covered with blood!” (Testimony n°314, interviewed in Wizna, on May 12, 2014)

Polish Archives

  1. Date and place of execution: 26.06.1941, Jewish houses
  2. Type of execution: explosion of the grenades
  3. Personal data of the executed victims: 10 Jewish families, mostly women and children. Men from these houses were taken out of town and shot after digging the pits. Chaim Kejman, Welwel Josel Chlipko, Meir Hirsz Nielawicki, Mordechaj Goldman.
  4. Majority of them was either killed or injured

3 days after 16 Jewish men were caught to dig the graves at the Jewish cemetery and afterwards shot. [Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, relacja numer 301/384]

Historical note

Wizna is village located in Podlaskie region, in Lomza administrative district. It lies 20 km east from Lomza and 60 km west from the capital of the region Bialystok. Jews were present in Wizna as early as in 1765. The Jewish community had risen significantly in the middle of the 19th century. By 1921 there were 714  Jews in the village making up 27% of the total population. In 1930s both Zionist and nationalistic sentiments started to grow in the village. Before the war there was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery in the village. There was also a Jewish school in the village. Jews from Wizna were traders or artisans, such as shoemakers or tailors. They also owned shops, sold wheat and owned industrial buildings.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

In September 1939 after a brief German occupation Wizna was occupied by the Soviet forces. On the 24th of June 1941 after the operation Barbarossa and the beginning of the war between Germany and Russia, the village was bombarded. Many houses had been burned and a lot of Jews had fled and were hiding on the nearby fields. Persecutions performed by other inhabitants had also started soon after in the entire district. Thus, on June 26, 1941, about 230-240 Jews from Wizna moved to Jedwabne to find shelter.  According to the Polish archives an execution of about fifty Jews occurred. While 10 Jewish families, mostly women and children were killed with a grenade thrown in the blacksmith’s house where they were hiding, another 16 Jewish man were taken away under the pretext of forced labor, but were executed shortly after. Unfortunately, neither the archives nor the Yahad’ team could find the place where they were murdered.   Those 230 Jews who moved to Jedwabne were burned alive in the barn along with the local Jews on July 10th, 1941.

For  more information about the massacre in Jedwabne please refer to the corresponding profile

Other links

Nearby villages

  • Tykocin
  • Jedwabne
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