“A large pit had been dug out by the young Baudienst the day before the shooting. They had branches arranged all around to conceal it. I hid in a barn and that was how I could see several shootings during the time of the occupation. The Jews were brought on trucks. They had to take off all their clothes and walk naked up to the pit, and a German stood by the side of the pit the whole time. The Jews had to stand facing the pit and from a distance of approximately three feet, the Germans shot them in the back of the neck with a pistol. To get close enough to his victim, each time the gunman had to take half a step”. – Jan (born in 1929).
During this 14-day investigation, Yahad-In Unum interviewed 42 witnesses and identified 23 locations of mass graves, 90% of which have a memorial.
Region of Lesser Poland and Sub-Carpathian
Investigated towns/villages: Dabrowa Tarnowska, Zabno, Szcurowa, Borzecin, Bielcza, Zbylitowska Gora, Niepolomice, Baczkow, Rzesawa, Wieliczka, Skawina, Bochnia, Brzesko, Wojnicz, Lekawka, Tuchow, Gromnik, Rzepiennik, Zakliczyn, Strozowka, Gorlice, Biecz, Bobowa, Frzystak, Jaslo, Warzyce, Grybow, Biala Nizna, Rdziostow, Marcinkowice, Limanowa, Tymbark, Zamiescie, Stara Wies.
During this investigation in Poland, the Yahad-In Unum team managed to find a high number of eye-witnesses to both isolated and mass shootings. The existence of concentration and extermination camps on Polish soil weighs upon the perception of the Holocaust in Poland. Outside of the camps, the extermination of the local Jewish population was generally less organized, especially in the case of isolated, limited shootings. Yahad’s investigations have found numerous examples of Nazis spontaneously shooting Jewish victims.
Yahad-In Unum's investigations revealed a number of characteristics about the genocide in these two regions:
– The mass deportation of Jews living in these areas to Belzec
– Numerous isolated or mass shootings of elderly Jews (although the concentration and extermination camps were not far away)
– The frequent use of young Baudienst who were obligated to participate indirectly in the executions of Jews
– The shootings of Gypsies