Antoni K. worked on the property of Kolonia Boncza where 3 Jewish families had been hiding. Everyone knew that they were there. The Germans wanted to carry out a punitive reprisal, because the partisans had killed 3 Germans. One day, the Germans came to the property and threw grenades. All the Jews were killed. Their bodies were put on a cart and carried out to be buried, not far away from the scene of the crime. Our witness was on the property at that time, in the building, which was situated 100 meters from this place. There is no monument commemorating it.
For this second research trip to Poland, Yahad chose to conduct the investigation in the district of Chelm, in the region of Lublin. This is the logical continuation of Yahad's first research trip which took place in the same region, in the districts of Biala Podlaska and Wlodawa. Yahad-In Unum recorded 44 testimonies and identified 21 sites of executions.
Region of Lublin, district of Chelm
Investigated towns/villages: Kolonia Strzelce, Raciborowice, Żmudz, Teresin, Sielec, Janówka, Wojsławice, Rakołupy, Horodysko, Kolonia Bończa, Dubienka, Starosiele, Bończa, Bazylany, Chełm, Rudka, Kolonia Żółtańce, Staw, Kolonia Nowosiółki, Rejowiec.
The Lublin region was a region with a large Jewish population. Even if some of them had managed to escape to the Soviet side as early as 1939, many of them were gathered in ghettos and were sent to the death camps – mostly Belzec and Sobibor – from 1942 on. However, a great number of them were also executed during mass shootings.
The district of Chelm is a region where the Death March took place in 1941. Germans led the Jews from Chelm to Hrubieszow on foot. During this march, many people who were weak and could not walk were shot on the spot.
– Jews from the village of Zmudz and from other neighboring villages were imprisoned in the fire station for one week before the mass execution.
– In the fields of Janowka, numerous Jews were shot. According to the archives, between 40 and 50 Jews were killed there. Yahad's team found 2 direct witnesses of this crime.
– According to the Polish and German archives, there was a ghetto, a labor camp for the Jews and a camp for the prisoners of war in the town of Chelm. The ghetto was created for the Polish citizens with the Jewish origins from Chelm and its surrounding villages, from Cracow as well as for 2.000 Slovakian Jews. Between May 21-23, 1942 4.000 people were transferred to the camp of Sobibor (among them 2000 Polish Jews, sick and aged above all and 2.000 Slovakian Jews). Several hundred people were killed outright.
The POW's camp was created in 1941 and liquidated in 1944, for Russians, Belgians, English and Italians. In 1941, in "Stalag A" there were 21.507 prisoners, in "Stalag B"- 28.277 prisoners.
A witness showed us the place in the forest "Borek" where the monument for the POW's commemorates the site.