TESTIMONY: Czeslaw – “To hide the traces of their crimes, the Germans burned the victims’ bodies”.

BASIC INFO: Yahad sent a research team for its 19th trip to Poland from the 2 to 19 August 2017. The team concentrated on the Western part of Lublin region in the districts of Opole Bilgoraj, Lublin, Opole and Pulawy. The team carried out investigations notably in towns and villages where police battalions and other German units carried out the shootings of several hundred thousand Jews between July 1942 and November 1943, in spite of the proximity of the concentration camps at Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor.
The team recorded 37 witness testimonies and located 29 mass graves. Most of the sites do not have memorials.

PLACES: Biłgoraj, Husiny, Józefów, Polichna Druga, Błażek, Zdziłowice Trzecie, Podlesie, Karpiówka, Łany, Krasnystaw, Mełgiew, Trzeszkowice, Kazimierzówka , Świdnik, Kalinówka, Kazimierz Dolny, Bełżyce, Poniatowa, Sadurki, Wola Przybysławska, Janów, Opoka, Końskowola.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: German troops occupied the region of Lublin from September 1939. The Lublin district was created at the end of October 1939 as one of the four initial districts of the General Government. Between 240 000 and 300 000 people resided in the district, including refugees from the Polish territories incorporated into the Reich.

KEY FINDINGS:
The team covered a number of different themes during this research trip: most notably
-The numerous massacres of the Jewish population that took place in the region, despite the proximity of the camps.
-The Jewish labour camps, such as those in Konskowola or Krasnystaw and their liquidation.
-The process of Operation 1005 in Krepiecki forest and Poniatowa as described above.
-The deportation of the Jews to the camps of the Aktion Reinhard (gathering of the victims, transportation to the camp, shootings along the roadside, shootings of fugitives).