Testimony: Bolesław, born in 1932 in Rabka: ”The Germans practised shooting behind the Gestapo building. They used Jews as human targets.”

Basic Info: A Yahad – In Unum field research team, led by Yahad Deputy Research Director Michal Chojak, investigated the voivodeships of Lesser Poland and Silesia from the March 13th-30th. This was Yahad’s 20th research trip to Poland. The team began by interviewing witnesses to shootings at three major shooting sites in the south of the Lesser Poland region: Nowy Targ (1,500 Jewish victims), Rabka (500 victims) and Mszana Dolna (881 victims). At Mszana Dolna, the team interviewed four witnesses who were able to describe the precise chronology of the massacre of the Jews. During the second part of the field trip, the Yahad team moved on to Silesia. This was the first time Yahad has carried out field research in the region, which had been annexed by the Third Reich in September 1939. At the beginning of the war, many Jews tried to flee to more eastern Polish territories. Many, however, tried to return home a few days later. In Slawkow, for example, almost 30 Jews were shot by Wehrmacht soldiers while trying to cross a damaged bridge in order to get back to Bedzin or Sosnowiec. 80 Jews were massacred in the quarry near the village of Koziol. The witnesses interviewed at Slawkow helped us document these crimes and to locate the precise locations of the killing sites.

Places: Szczawnica, Krościenko nad Dunajcem, Krośnica, Czorzstyn, Nowy Targ, Ochotnica Dolna, Rabka-Zdrój, Jordanów, Rokiciny Podhalańskie, Mszana Dolna, Mszana Górna, Podobin, Maków Podhalański, Brzezinka, Brzeszcze, Oświęcim, Sławków, Łazy, Skała, Kraków.

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 systematic shooting of the regions’ Jews;
– The requisitioning of locals;
– The massacre of Jews by Wehrmacht soldiers.