Częstochowa Jews During the Nazi Era

- from the Yizkor Book "Chenstochowa Yidn"

The beginning of the Second World War is simultaneously the beginning of the suffering, the pain, the death, the martyrdom and the heroism of the Jews of Częstochowa.

In the early morning hours of Friday, 1st September 1939, Nazi Germany attacked Poland. And already, by the third day, at nine o’clock in the morning of Sunday, the 3rd September, Nazi motorised units began penetrating Częstochowa and, one day later, there began the first slaughter which received the name “Bloody Monday”.

Bloody Monday

Monday, 4th September, under the false accusation that Jews had shot at Germans, a horrible pogrom took place that lasted three days. The first victim was Naftali Tenenboym, owner of a button factory at ul. Pilsudskego 7. The second victim was Laizer Rapaport, who was known under the nickname “Po Pięć” (Polish for “five each”). The third, Katz, a carpenter by occupation, was known as a leader in the artisans unions.

Among the numerous victims in the three-day pogrom was the son of the Rosh-ha’Yeshiva (Head of the Talmudic academy], Jakubowicz.

The first three days of Nazi rule over Częstochowa were marked by bloody murder and looting. Jewish economic life was completely paralyzed. Cultural, social, and political life, including the entire school system, was completely dissolved.

Falling like hail, there were repressions and decrees aimed at psychologically choking Jewish life, the theft of Jewish property, the exploitation of the Jewish labor force for free, and the placing of Jewish life into a lawless situation.

Persecutions and Repressions

The persecutions and repressions included a curfew, meaning the prohibition of being on the streets from eight o’clock in the evening until five o’clock in the morning, the confiscation of all radios, kidnapping for unpaid forced labor, including murderous beatings at work, the confiscation of all merchandise of Jewish stores without compensation, the taking of Jewish houses with the owners even having to pay rent for their apartments, the forced payments of money, the taking of various valuable objects, the confiscation all furs and metals, the expulsion of Jews from their apartments on the nicer streets and the theft of all their possessions, the forcing of Jews to wear marks of shame, the establishment of a ghetto, the banishing of people to camps and the theft of Jewish factories by installing, within them, trusted traders.

In order to carry out all of these persecutions and repressions, the Germans appointed a Judenrat (Jewish Council) and, later, Ghetto Police who would be responsible for the maintenance of order.

The Judenrat

The Judenrat in Częstochowa was established on the basis of an order from the Nazi authorities, something which occurred in all cities. Today, it is accurately known that this was not an order of the individual Nazi local authorities, but was a general decree issued directly from Berlin on 21st September 1939, under the name “Heidrich’s Express Letter”.

The full text of the Express Letter was printed in the “Yivo Bleter (Yivo Pages)”, Volume 30, pages 163-168, New York, 1947. In the letter, the functions of the Judenrat are precisely laid out – namely, to carry out Nazi orders promptly and obediently.

The Judenrat in Czestochowa consisted of:

Leon Kapięski President
Zelig Rotbart Vice-President
Maurycy Kapięski Workers Office
Bernard Kurland Workers Office
Nusun-Dawid Berliner Finance Office
Natan Gerichter Finance Office
Samuel Katz Judenrat member
Shmuel Niemirowski Judenrat member
Dawid Koniecpoler Judenrat member
Mordka Weinryb liaison with the Gestapo
Maurycy Galster Judenrat member
Leib Bromberg Judenrat member
Shimon Pohorille lawyer, Judenrat member
Dawid Borzykowski Judenrat member
Yremiyahu Gitler lawyer, Judenrat member

Two lawyers, Józef Broniatowski and Mendel Goldberg were also members of the Judenrat. However, they resigned from their positions and left the Judenrat after three weeks.

The Judenrat quickly expanded because of the constant decrees issued by the Nazi authorities. In December 1940, the Judenrat comprised twenty one departments with a staff of senior and junior officials numbering 676 people.

All the German decrees were aimed at degrading Jewish morale, plundering Jewish possessions, exploiting uncompensated Jewish workers, murdering Jews through hunger and cold, causing diseases, carrying out arrests, as it were, for investigations of entirely fictitious crimes (those arrested were shot in most cases). They provided Jews to be sent to camps and for resettlement in the death camps. The Judenrat was required to carry out these decrees. As a result, the Jewish population had a negative attitude towards the Judenrat. The Jewish population did not trust the Judenrat and the Judenrat did not represent the (political) movements of the Jewish population.

The Jewish Police

The Jewish police in Częstochowa was established under an innocent name “Street Traffic Inspectorate” and its tasks were almost “innocent” – namely guarding the offices and warehouses of the Judenrat, maintaining law and order in the streets and, mainly, ensuring that Jews should not appear on the streets after curfew, under the threat of being arrested by the “ketshl [unknown]” or even falling victim to a German bullet.

At first, the Street Traffic Inspectorate numbered fifty members, later increasing to sixty. By December 1940, there were eighty. An “Order Service” was established, being real police, and the two entities were combined. The innocent Street Traffic Inspectorate was incorporated into the Ghetto Police. Shortly before the resettlement of the ghetto, the police numbered two hundred and fifty.

The Street Traffic Inspectorate and the police differed in several ways. Members of the Inspectorate were not uniformed. They wore only armbands. In contrast, the police were uniformed, wearing blue-white caps and armbands and carried rubber sticks in their hands. The Inspectorate Commander was Cederbaum and, during the first period following the establishment of the police, Galster.

The police were established based on the decree of the Regional Chief Wendler and his representative Kadner. After the merging of Inspectorate with the police, Galster was arrested and Parasol was named as Commandant.

Members of the Inspectorate came from a “better stratum”, from Częstochowa’s assimilated bourgeois circles. They carried out their service without pay. The police, on the other hand, received a monthly salary and consisted of unscrupulous people. Many of them received favoured treatment from the German authorities. This favoured treatment by the German authorities was reserved for “suppliers of information”, namely informers and denouncers. They, above all, pursued material interests.

The police were a plague on the Jewish population. It is clear that there were no willing volunteers for unpaid forced labour. There were also no volunteers who would allow themselves to be sent away to the camps to be overworked, tortured, beaten and to bear various afflictions or be willing volunteers to pay various tributes. There were also no volunteers for donating their merchandise to the Nazis. This the police carried out with coercion, through house searches, day and night, arresting, beating with rubbers sticks and through other irksome actions.

The attitude towards the police was bitter, full of hatred and rage.

The ghetto police were generally an affliction in all ghettos. This point is attested to by all of the books of the Holocaust period which were written about ghetto police in other ghettoes. Shneor Vaserman writes the following about Chelm:

For the murderers (the Nazis), it wasn’t enough that they alone murdered. For their sadistic pleasure, they instituted that Jewish extermination was also carried out by Jewish hands. That, incidentally, was the devilish tactic in all of Poland, and everywhere their bloody paws reached. The Jewish police were recruited from the dregs of society. (“Yizkor Bukh [Memorial Book], Chelm”, Johannesburg, 1954, pages 90-91). 

Melech Neishtadt declares,

Between the broad Jewish masses and the ghetto policemen, a thick wall was set up. The entire population of the Jewish quarter had an attitude of deep hatred towards the servants of the Germans. (Khurbn un Vidershtand fun di Yidn in Varshe [Destruction and Resistance of the Jews in Warsaw], New York, 1948, page 84). 

B. Mark characterizes a ghetto policeman in the following words,

He has power, he can rule, he may scream at his brothers, hit them, chase them. He is not armed with a weapon. The German does not trust him. The German only stuck a rubber stick in his hand with which he should teach his blood brothers servility and obedience. (B. Mark, “Der Oyfshtand in Varshever Geto [The Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto]”, page 12).

Dr. Mark Dvorzshetzki writes,

The ghetto population in Vilna related to the Jewish ghetto police with distrust and hatred. Many policemen were people without scruples, without shame, and without ethics. During “Aktions”, they more than once opened hiding places and betrayed hidden Jews. (“Yerushalayim D’Lite in Kamf un Umkum [The Jerusalem of Lithuania in Battle and Holocaust]”, Paris, 1948, page 302). 

In Pinkas Mlave [The Record Book of Mlave], we read,

As commandant of the Jewish police, the authorities nominated Shalom Gutman who became the terror of the ghetto. With body and soul, he collaborated with the Germans and created great miseries for Jews. He informed on all that was taking place in the ghetto. He murdered and beat. He carried out the German decrees with pleasure. (“Pinkas Mlave” under the editorship of Dr. Yakov Shatzki, New York, 1950, page 406). 

With the best of efforte, it is not possible to bring all quotations about this in a limited and condensed work. But, the above quotations are enough as a comparison with the ghetto police in Częstochowa to show that the phenomenon was a general one in all of the ghettos.


The concept of a “ghetto” has to be understood as an isolated area in which Jews were forced to live under the threat of death.

In Częstochowa, initially, it was an area of residence. Later, it became a closed ghetto or, as it was called, the Big Ghetto, the Small Ghetto. The Small Ghetto was later converted into a slave labour camp.

The various ghetto designations were an expression of specific economic forms, connected with distinctive forms of repression, persecutions, arrests, banishments, shootings, executions, selections, and deportations.

Residence Area

Immediately after the Nazis marched into Częstochowa, the Jews were driven out of the nicer streets and more comfortable residences and squeezed into the Jewish quarter. This was designated by the term “Jewish residence area”. It marked the boundaries of what was later to become the ghetto.

During that time, Jews still had the possibility of doing business with Aryans, to move about the city and to use the train. The repressions and persecutions included a curfew, the confiscation of radios on 16th September 1939, the wearing of the badge of shame from December 1939, kidnapping for uncompensated forced labor, arrests of individual community leaders and the shooting of individuals.

The Introduction of the Ghetto

The ghetto was introduced on 23rd April 1940. As decreed by General-Governor Hans Frank, it was forbidden for Jews to use the train under penalty of death, for Jews to leave the ghetto under penslty of death and for every smallest infraction, it was also the death penalty.

The maintenance of business relations with the Polish population was entirely forbidden. Jews were completely isolated from economic, social, political, and cultural life. The requirement of tributes and the confiscation of merchandise gave rise to great impoverishment. The crowding of the ghetto and the hunger, cold, and hardship brought about epidemic illnesses. From 22nd September 1942, with small interruptions until the end of October 1942, mass murders, selections, and deportations to Treblinka took place and ended the existence of the “Big Ghetto”.

The “Small Ghetto”

On the site where the destroyed ghetto had stood, the “Small Ghetto” was established in November 1942 in the smallest streets near the old marketplace – namely Jaskrawska, Nadrzeczna, Garncarska, Kozia, Senatorska and Mostowa. The “Small Ghetto” held young men and women who worked in the HASAG (Hugo Schneider AG, a German firm in Leipzig with connections to the S.S.) factories and other work places.

Just prior to the liquidation of the “Small Ghetto”, it was called the “Compulsory Labour Camp” by the Nazi authorities. The liquidation of the “Small Ghetto” took place in the days of 26th-30th June 1943.

Expulsion to the Camps

The expulsion of Częstochowa Jews to camps began in 1940. The first expulsion took place to Hrubieszów for fortification work. Subsequent ones took place to the entire length of the river Bug, to Bełżec and Cieszanżw to dig deep trenches by the border of the then General-Government and Soviet border area.

Later expulsions took place to the ammunition factories in Skarzysko-Kamienna and Bliżyn. The last expulsion took place on 21st March 1943 to Bliżyn. The number of Jews sent on the last transport was three hundred.

The Camps in Częstochowa

From the beginning of Nazi occupation in Częstochowa until the liquidation of the “Small Ghetto”, there were tens of workplaces where Jews were employed as forced labourers. Following the liquidation of the “Small Ghetto”, Jews were placed into four HASAG camps – Pelcery, Raków, Warta, and Częstochowianka.

Until now, the character of these camps has not been classified. Were they work camps, forced labour camps, or concentration camps? In order to explain the character of the Częstochowa camps, it is necessary to make the following assertions:

    1. Camps in which there was a supervisory organ of camp inhabitants and a civilian German administration belong to the category of “work camps” and the camp inhabitants are considered as forced labourers.
    2. Camps in which there was a supervisory organ of the camp inhabitants, a civilian German administration and a uniformed, armed Werkshutz (camp guard) organ belong to the category of “forced labour camps” and the camp inhabitants are considered as forced labourers.
    3. Camps in which there was a supervisory organ of the camp inhabitants, a civilian German administration, a uniformed armed Werkshutz organ and a supervisory authority of SD or SS belong to the category “concentration camps” and the camp inhabitants are considered as prisoners.

The four camps enumerated above were under a regime that falls under point three of the classification. Therefore, one must assert that the Czestochowa camps were concentration camps.

Life in the “Big Ghetto” and in the “Small Ghetto”

The “Big Ghetto”

The area of the “Big Ghetto” was much smaller than the area which the Jews occupied before German occupation. In addition, the size of the Jewish population had almost doubled as a result of the great inflow of refugees from the surrounding small towns and villages and from an entire set of Polish cities.

For the most part, the refugees arrived without any means of living and physically exhausted. They inhabited mass quarters. There stood tiered beds made from boards, but they had no possibility of sustaining themselves. There was no possibility of washing and cooking, and, as a result of constant hunger and cold and bad sanitary conditions, they were the first victims of typhus and various other epidemics. In Warsaw, there were also such mass lodgings and they were called “death houses”, because their inhabitants died in great numbers from illness and hunger.

Mostly, Jews lived by selling off their possessions. This was a general phenomenon in all ghettos.

An economic decline took place in Jewish life. Jewish industrialists and major businessmen were ejected from their enterprises. The wage earners, employees in trades and in offices, as well as those in professions, lost their jobs. Hunger and hardship drove everyone onto the street to sell their last piece of clothing in order to have the possibility of surviving the day.

Sz.Tikociński characterised the situation with the following words:

In the majority of Jewish homes, hunger and hardship began to reign and one saved oneself as one could. Such salvation was mostly sought in the clothes closet in order to later have food for a day. There was a barter of furniture, clothes, footwear and jewellery for bread. A selling off on a grand scale came into being among Jews. (Bleter far Geshikhte [Letters of History], Volume 1, Notebooks 3-4, page 207.)

Life in the ghetto was a constant struggle and a battle. The battle expressed itself in various forms, namely to keep alive and not expire because of the hunger, the cold, and the forced labour in order to survive until the Nazi defeat, a battle to maintain Jewish honour, the national honor, and the Jewish soul of the ghetto Jew, a battle against Nazi power and its servants of all kinds.

The “Small Ghetto”

Life in the “Small Ghetto” resembled a flickering candle. All were orphaned, made lonely, embittered with a strong will to battle against the Nazi evildoers who had destroyed the pulsating Jewish life in Częstochowa.

Economic life had the character of fasseven (packing tightly). Smuggling in the gefasevete (tightly packed) things and, through others, to smuggle out the items to the workplaces where Jews worked together with Christians, to trade for food and, after that, to again smuggle the food into the “Small Ghetto”. In the battle to maintain the physical survival of the ghetto, an entire cycle of smuggling came about.

Resistance and Culture

Every cultural activity in the “Big Ghetto”, “Small Ghetto” and the concentration camps has to be considered as a component of the resistance struggle. This is because every Jewish cultural activity, the gymnazia (equivalent to advanced high school) and schools, were dissolved by the Nazis.

The same has to be said about religious activities which were carried out under risk of death in the “Big Ghetto”, “Small Ghetto” and the concentration camps.

A clear demonstration that cultural activities were a component of resistance can be inferred from the fact that nearly all the songs written during the Nazi era in Częstochowa bear a fighting character. Several short quotations will show this.

The last stanza of the song Geto (Ghetto):

In fists are my hands clenched
to destroy the ghetto gates and walls
to remove the barbed wire.
The spectre should vanish like a shadow

(B. Orenshtayn, Czestochowa Small Ghetto, March, 1943)

Fragment of the song Nekome (Revenge):

Like robots, robbed of life and soul,
we stand at work and think of revenge.

(Franya Kornfeld, concentration camp Hasag-Pelcery, 1943)

Fragment of the song HASAG:

A HASAG Jew has no solution,
like a dog, he carries a number on his back,
he is treated just like an animal,
yet he still fights for a new world.

(Dovid Zisman, concentration camp Hasag-Pelcery, 1944)

The motif of battle braids itself through all songs.

Among the cultural activities must be considered the illegal, so-called kompleten (a small number of teachers and students who functioned as a school) and individual instruction.

Of special, of vital significance is the illustrated publication Rasta of which a large number of issues were published. The name Rasta comes from the abbreviation Rada Starszych (Judenrat). The newspaper appeared for a long time and was published by the opponents of the Judenrat.

The leading position in cultural activities was occupied by the Workers’ Council.

The Workers’ Council

Among the distinctive and remarkable institutions of Częstochowa Jewry in the Nazi era, one must include the Workers’ Council, which was established as a spontaneous movement of the forced labourers.

The forced laborers belonged to the poor strata of Częstochowa Jewry. The well-to-do Jews ransomed themselves with money and the poor, not having with what to live, suffering from hunger and want and had, in addition, to toil at forced labour, be vexed, terrorised, tormented and beaten by the masters, foremen, and kapos (short for kameradenpolizei, Jewish prisoners who served as overseers]. Many times, it occurred that forced labourers fainted from hunger and exhaustion during the hard labor.

On the 12th May 1940, forced labourers came to the premises of the Judenrat right after work and held a mass assembly. The speakers were Jakub Szildhaus, Szmulewicz, and Zvi Rozenwajn. The forced labourers locked the doors to the premises and did not allow members of the Judenrat to leave. This demonstration made a huge impression. After a whole series of incidents and negotiations, the Judenrat, in part, gave in to the demands of the forced labourers to create kitchens and in regard to the distribution of bread. Later, the forced labourers received wages.

The Worker’s Council was divided into a presidium, executive board and advisory committee. The executive board consisted of Moishe Lubling (Chairman), Moshe Lewenhof (Secretary) and Zvi Rozenwayn (Treasurer). The executive board consisted of Moshe Lubling, Zvi Rozenwayn, Yisroel Szildhauz, Icek Rozenfeld, Mendel Willinger, Mordechai Oppenheim, Yitzchak Opoczynski, Chaim Birenholc, Yisroel Szymonowicz and Moshe Levwnhof. The advisory committee consisted of Dovid Szlezinger, Gershon Frendki, Avrohom Brat, Avrohom Szczekacz, and Yankel Kaufman. Contributing to the council and its activities were influential personalities Yaakov Rozener, the lawyer Kanarski, the lawyer Leib Fogel, the well-known writer H.L. Zitnicki and many others.

The tasks of the Workers’ Council were to carry out political, cultural, and professional activity and to create a whole series of institutions such as the sick fund, mutual help funds, invalid fund, worker kitchens, children’s homes, public schools, evening courses, dramatic circles, workers’ choirs, and publishing of an illegal newspaper.

The Workers’ Council conducted multifaceted activities and was the forerunner of the later Jewish Fighting Organization in the Small Ghetto. The Workers’ Council existed until 22nd September 1942, when the mass slaughter, selections, and deportations of Częstochowa Jews to the gas chambers of Treblinka began.

The topic of Workers’ Council has featured in a whole series of prominent research on the Holocaust literature. Dr. Philip Fridman, the leading scholar and bibliographer of Holocaust literature wrote:

A rare institution in the era of Nazi tyranny (Unzer Yortseit [Our Death Anniversary], Bamberg, 1948, page 10).

Another authority in the field, Dr. Rafael Mahler declared:

Like a great beam of light, the description of the activities of the Worker’s Councils weaves through (Yidishe Kultur (Jewish Culture), New York, April, 1949, Number 4, Page 9). 

Selections and Deportations

Every deportation was associated with a selection. That is, with every deportation, those able to work were chosen and sent to the Metallurgia plant and, from there, to the barracks of various workplaces until the establishment of the Small Ghetto.

The first tragic mass murder of Częstochowa Jewry took place one day after Yom Kippur, 22nd September 1942. On that day, the Częstochowa streets were transformed into rivers of the blood of those who had been shot. Seven thousand Jews were deported after that to the mass grave of Polish Jewry – the gas chambers of Treblinka.

Two days later, Thursday, 24th September, the second horrible mass murder of deportation took place.

After a short interruption, the third deportation took place with the same gruesome conditions – this time on Monday, 28th September, the first day of Chol Hamoed Succos (the third day of the holiday of Succos).

The fourth deportation was of Jews who had hidden themselves in various hiding places at the time of the first three deportations.

The fifth deportation took place on 4th October 1942, one day after Simchas Torah.

These five deportations concluded a whole cycle of events that cut off Jewish life in Częstochowa and, with it, the Big Ghetto ceased to exist and a new chapter of events began in the Small Ghetto.

Jewish Fighting Organisations

With the establishment of the Small Ghetto, the youth who were organized in the Workers’ Council formed the nucleus of the Jewish resistance movement. With a realistic eye, the youth observed the events that were playing out in the world, the strategic situation on the war fronts, and the outcome of the war.

All were 100% convinced of the complete defeat of Hitler’s Germany. Meanwhile, however, the extermination of the Jews was taking place day in and day out. The satanic gas chambers and crematora were poisoning and burning masses of Jews on a daily basis.

Jewish youth in the Small Ghetto took the fate of their people into their own hands and chose the one way remaining – the honorable way of battle! The Jewish fighting organisations in the Częstochow Small Ghetto were a union of all political points of view and organisations. In view of the general national catastrophe, all of the former party points of view and ideological differences disappeared, and all of them were now united with the greatest of willingness to sacrifice their lives against the Nazi authorities.

The aims of the Jewish fighting organisation were:

  1. to train ghetto fighters to protect the population in the Small Ghetto and to prepare themselves to fight against the Nazi authorities in an open armed uprising
  2. to organise partisan groups in the forests to lead the battle against the Nazis with assaults. Ghetto fighters could only carry on a defensive struggle in contrast to the partisans who had the possibility of offensive assaults.

The main tasks of the fighting organisation were to disrupt the German assault force and to hasten their defeat. In order to achieve the goal, the following armed actions took place:

  1. destroying trains that were carrying Nazi military transports to the fronts;
  2. destroying trains with ammunition and food;
  3. assaulting Germans on the roads, highways and in the forests;
  4. destroying bridges, destroying railway junctions in order to paralyze German communications
  5. destroying machinery that was intended to serve to serve German military production
  6. (sic) taking agricultural products from peasants that were designated for German contingents and distributing them among the population that was suffering from want;
  7. sabotaging German commands and decrees; 8) battling against informers and provocateurs.

The commanding group of the Jewish Fighting Organisation in the Częstochowa Small Ghetto consisted of Moitek Zilberberg, Somek Abramowicz, Heniek Pejsak, Yehuda Glikstein and Szymon Młodanów. The team council consisted of consisted of Heniek Wiernik, Rywka Glanc, Josek Kantor, Włodowski and Szildhauz. The commander was Moitek Zilberberg. The partisans and armed campaigns were led by Josek Kantor.

In charge of communication with the ghettos and the Warsaw ghetto, receiving couriers from other ghettos and sending couriers from the Czestochowa Small Ghetto to other cities was Somek Abramowicz.

Members of the finance committee were Szymon Młodanów, Leon Zelwer, Bruch, Szildhauz and Włodowski. Heniek Wiernik, a chemist, was in charge of grenade production, along his wife Natka Wierkik, Heniek Kaufman, Binyamin Mendelbaum, Eliezer Szmulewicz, Ziskind Szmulewicz, Mosze Rożanski, Binyamin Erenfried, Avrohom Czarny and Wilinger.

The Fighting Organization carried out a significant number of armed actions. During the liquidation of the Small Ghetto, a heroic armed resistance took place that took on the character of a uprising.

The Murderers of Częstochowa Jewry

The chief murderer of Częstochowa Jews was Degenhardt. He had an ape-like face and his appearance provoked terror as if he were a devil or a bloodthirsty animal.

His accomplices included Ibisher, Raan, Verner, Kulfish, Dzsherzshan, Shatt, Hantke, Shimel, Hiller, Passov, Tzafard, Lashinski, Kinel, Shlaser, Bartel, Afitz, Shmidt, Kesler, Yazshinski-Marbach, Rachner, Villi Ankelbach, Degenharts-Shafer, Shenfelder, Fisher, Kirsh and the Extermination Commando. (Ed: These are undoubtedly transliterations of the German surnames.)

Among the murderers of Częstochowa Jewry must also be included the Meisters of HASAG Pelcery who have on their consciences (the murder of) three hundred Jews during the selection which took place on 20th July 1943. The Meisters were Apeln, Franktse and Nitsilek.

Forced Evacuation

When the Germans no longer had much chance of keeping Częstochowa, they began evacuating the Jews from the four concentration camps – HASAG-Pelcery, HASAG-Raków, Warta, and Częstochowianka.

The first transports were in December 1944 and the last were on the 15th and 16th of January 1945. The men were sent to Buchenwald and the women to Ravensbruck. From those concentration camps, they were then sent to various concentration camps in Germany. The number of forced evacuees was no fewer than 7,000. (1,200 in December 1944 and 5,800 on 15th-16th January 1945).

Statistical Information Concerning Częstochowa Jewry

As Częstochowa Jews, one must include:

  1. those born in Częstochowa
  2. old settlers (those who settled in Częstochowa before the War)
  3. refugees who came to Częstochowa in the time of the Big Ghetto and Small Ghetto and
  4. those Jews who were brought to Częstochowa concentration camps in forcible transports. The forcible transports came from the Łódż ghetto, Plaszów, a concentration camp near Kraków, Skarzysko-Kamienna, Bliżyn, Piotrków and Dęblin.

The total number of Jews in the Częstochowa Big Ghetto, Small Ghetto and in the concentration camps was 58,200. 50,000 were killed, while 8,200 were liberated by the Allied armies.

These two tables confirm the given numbers:

 Table of the Bloody Events in Częstochowa

Date Events No.Victims
Sept 4th 1939 Bloody Monday 150
1939-1940 Individual shootings of community leaders 200
1940-1942 Mortality from typhus and other epidemics 400
Sept 22nd 1942 Mass deportations to Treblinka begin and street shootings  
Oct 4th 1942 Last day of mass deportations 40,250
1942-1943 Individual and group shootings of those captured in hiding places, cellers, attics, and bunkers 850
Jan 4th 1943 Shooting of the fighters Itche Fejner and Mendel Fiszlewicz 2
Jan 4th 1943 Shooting of young people 25
Jan 4th 1943 Deportation of Jews to Radomsk, resettled to Treblinka 500
Jan 5th 1943 Campaign against old people and children 250
Mar 7th 1943 Sent to Bliżyn 25
Mar 21st 1943 Sent to Bliżyn – a few individuals survived 300
Mar 19th 1943 Execution of 6 partisans, individual shootings in Moebel Lager 20
Mar 20th 1943 Campaign against the intelligentsia. Shooting at the cemetery of those with academic educations and the Judenrat 157
April 1943 Selection at east railroad 24
Jun 6-30th 1943 Liquidation of the Small Ghetto, mass shootings, those who fell in the resistance battle 1,500
Jul 30th 1943 Burned alive 500
Jul 20th 1943 Selection in HASAG-Pelcery 300
Jul 20th 1943 Selection on ul Garibaldiego 100
July 1943 From arriving transport of Dęblin Jews, the Nazi tyrant Bartenschlager shot the children. 15
Dec 1943 Evacuation of 1,200 Jews to Germany – men to Buchenwald and women to Ravensbruck 1,000
1944 Individual shootings, mortality from typhus and other diseases, Jews captured with fake IDs, fallen partisans and those killed by the Home Army (AK) 457
Jan 15-16th 1945 Forced evacuation transports to Germany from the HASAG Pelcery, Raków, Warta, Częstochowianka – altogether 5,800.  3,000
  Total number of victims:  50,000

Table of Freed Częstochowa Jews

Jan 17th 1945 In Częstochowa, freed by the Soviet army 5,200
1945 April 15th – in Bergen-Belsen by the English army
April 27th – in Tirkhayt (?) by the American army
May 1st – in Buchenwald by the American army
May 5th – in Ravensbruck by the Soviet army
  Total number of individuals:  8,200

General Conclusions

In the general destruction of European Jewry, the city of Częstochowa contributed 50,000 victims. These victims were those who represented Jewish faith, Jewish traditions, and the struggle against Nazism.

To die for the Jewish faith, tradition, and struggle, these are the highest forms of national holiness, which expresses itself in Kiddush-Hashem (sanctification of God) and sanctification of the nation. At every opportunity, landsleit (people of/from the same town) should honour these fallen victims, martyrs and heroes.

Honouring the fallen victims, martyrs, and heroes means to lay bare all of these problems that were tied in with their lives, struggles, and deaths.

Honouring the fallen victims, martyrs, and heroes means, simultaneously, expressing eternal contempt for those who lost every spark of humanity and transformed themselves into strange barbarians, who murdered, in a brutish manner and with the greatest violence and sadism, the sons and daughters of the Jewish people – the Jews of Częstochowa.


The text on this page
was provided by
from the United States.

Mark’s father was from
Częstochowa and had a book
entitled Czenstochov:
Supplement to the Book
“Chenstochowa Yidn”.

Mark has translated several
articles from this book, from
the original Yiddish and has
offered the English translation
for publication on our website.

The author of this article
suffered the miseries of
Częstochowa Jewry in
HASAG-Rakow, HASAG-Pelcery
and, after the forced evacuation,
in the German concentration
camps in Buchenwald, “Dara”
and Bergen-Belsen.

After being freed, the author
was active in the central
administration of the
Częstochowa landmanshaft
inside the American zone
in Germany as chairman of the
Culture Commission.

He has written a series of publications about
Częstochowa Jewry
during the Nazi era.

The Websmaster sincerely thanks
and all those concerned
in the process which has
enabled this text to be
published on this website.