WILNO, Lithuania (Dec. 3)
The destruction of Jewish life in the Nazi-occupied sections of West Galicia is assuming greater proportions than in other Polish provinces — accompanied by verified accounts of the massacres of some 300 Jews — according to reliable reports received here today.
The Nazi depredations were particularly severe in the Cracow, Rzeszow and Sanok districts, where entire Jewish populations were virtually wiped out and only charred ruins of synagogues and overcrowded cemeteries remained to attest the former existence of Jewish communities.
A massacre was reported in Dynow in which 200 Jews were killed by the Nazis. At least 40 were slain in Usciesolno near Cracow. Nineteen were shot in Limanowa. a number were slain in Sondowa and Wisnia, but the exact figures were unascertainable.
In the town of Sanok, 900 Jewish families were expelled and 300 allowed to remain. Two Sanok synagogues and a religious school were set afire and three Jews were shot while trying to save the Holy Scrolls. All Jews were expelled from the town of Blazowa.
All Jews were expelled from the industrial town of Krasno. Their factories and other property were confiscated. Almost all the Jews were expelled from the town of Rozwadow, Rymanow and Dukla and only a few Jews were permitted to remain, the largest group being 50 in Dukla.
Almost everywhere synagogues were burned down. In Belz, the residence of a famous dynasty of “wonder rabbis,” all synagogues were destroyed except one — an ancient edifice built by Schalom Rokeach, founder of the dynasty, which was saved after intervention by the Christian communities. A number of prominent West Galician Jews found refuge in the Soviet Ukraine.
Conditions were also desperate in other parts of Poland. Nazis set fire to the two largest synagogues in Otwock, near Warsaw, and shot dead three Jews. Warsaw Jews who had previously taken refuge in Otwock because of relatively safer conditions began to flee because Gestapo agents, Nazi storm troopers and Hitler Youth sections were sent into the town.
In Wolomin, in the Warsaw district, six orthodox Jews were shot dead for refusing to tear up Holy Scrolls. In Radionz, in the Plonsk District, the entire Jewish population of more than 200 families was expelled.
Meanwhile, in the former Polish city of Wilno life has returned to normal after a month of Lithuanian rule. The shortage of bread and other foods, prevalent during October, has been overcome and an effective food supply arranged. The Government’s satisfactory exchange of Lithuanian currency for Polish zlotys won for Lithuania the gratitude of Wilno’s population, especially Jewish refugees from the war-stricken areas of Poland.
Thousands of refugees were particularly grateful for the Government’s liberal treatment and consideration of their problems, and the Jewish press reflects this feeling.