Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Polish Government Paper Publishes Eye-witness Accounts of Liquidation of Ghettos

July 23, 1943
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A series of eye-witness accounts of the liquidation of several large ghettos in Poland is published today in Dziennik Polski, official organ of the Polish Government-in-Exile.

In the city of Sandomierz, in the Lublin district of central Poland, one report states, Ukrainian detachments of the Nazi S.S. troops broke into the ghetto at four o’clock in the morning one day last winter and dragged the Jews from their homes to the street, where they shot 200. Hundreds of others were herded in front of the local cathedral where they were kept for hours in temperatures that ranged around freezing. By afternoon of that day many of the older and weaker persons had died from exposure and the Nazis ordered the ghetto police to remove their bodies.

Then the remaining Jews – both men and women – were ordered to undress and were loaded into sealed freight cars. Two trainloads of Jews were taken to a siding several miles from the city where they were left for sixteen hours. Hundreds were asphyxiated from the chloride of lime that had been sprinkled on the floor of the cars. When the trains eventually reached Belzec, in southern Poland, where a central ghetto had been established, only 300 of the several thousand deportees were still alive.

Almost the same procedure was followed in Radom, also in central Poland, another account in Dziennik Polski reveals. In Radom the ghetto was strewn with the bodies of so many murdered Jews that it required two days to clear the streets, this report says. Hundreds of other Radom Jews were killed as they were being marched to the railroad yards to entrain in freight cars, when a group of drunken S.S. men opened fire on them with automatics.

In the town of Majdanek, where the Nazis established a ghetto for the Jews of Lublin and also a concentration camp, about 3,000 Jews died from lack of food and mistreatment and their clothes were stripped from them for use by the Germans, according to the final account appearing in the Polish Government newspaper. The surviving Jews in Majdanek were sent to the Belzec ghetto, it adds.

Recommended from JTA