On 22nd September 1942, the Germans began liquidating the ghetto – a process which ended on the 8th October. This action was carried by Germans, Ukrainians and Latvians – under the command of Captain Paul Degenhardt. During this liquidation, “selections” took place at, what is known today as, Daszyński Square. As a result of these selections, 38,250 Jews were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp, while another 2,000 were shot and buried in a mass grave in Kawia Street.
In November 1942, the remaining 5-6,000 Jews were gathered into, what became known as, “The Small Ghetto” which included the streets of the Old Market Square area: Jaskrawska, Nadrzeczna, Garncarska, Kozia, Senatorska and Mostowa. The majority imprisoned here were young Jews who had been selected for slave labour in the Hasag-Pelcery munitions factory (Hugo Schneider Company). In the “small terror” terror reigned. Jews were randomly selected to be shot. During the years1942-43, 850 Jews died in this manner.
In the ”small ghetto”, the 300-member Jewish Fighting Organisation was formed. Amongst those in command were: Mordechaj Zilberberg, Sumek Abramowicz, Heniek Pesak, Jehuda Gliksztain and Simon Mladinow. The commander-in-chief was Mordechaj Zilberberg. Company commander was Josek Kantor. Sumek Abramowicz was responsible for communication with other ghettoes. Members of the finance committee were Simon Mladinow, Leo Zelever, Bruch, Shildhoz and Władowski. The chemist, Heniek Wiernik, produced the grenades. Those who helped him were his wife Natka Wiernik, Vierkik, Heniek Kofman, Benjamin Mandelbojm, Eliezer Szmulewicz, Ziskin Szmulewicz, Mosze Rużański, Benjamin Erenfrid, Abraham Tszarni and Vilinger.
On 4th January 1943, the Germans carried out another “selection” which resulted in 25 people being shot in, what is today, Ghetto Heroes Square. 500 of those selected were transported to the ghetto in Radomsk. It was at this time that an armed attack was attempted upon the Germans. In the resultant shooting Mendel Fiszelowicz and Isza Fajner lost their lives. In a reprisal, the Germans shot another 25 young Jews.
On 5th January 1943, the Germans carried out an “action” against the elderly and children. The result of this was another 250 Jews who perished. On 7th March 1943, 25 young Jewish workers were sent to a slave labour camp in Bliżyna. On 21st March, a further group of 300 workers were sent to Bliżyna (several of whom survived the war).
On 19th March 1943, at the Częstochowa Jewish cemetery, the Germans shot a group of 6 Jewish partisans. Along with them, another 14 Jews were also killed. On 20th March, the so-called “Purim aktion” was carried out aimed against Jewish intellectuals. Afterwards, 300 Jews were arrested who were later killed at the cemetery. In April, a selection was carried out in which 24 workers were sent to build railway tracks in the east.
On 26th June 1943, the Germans began the final „aktion” of liquidation. The Organisation of Jewish Fighters put up a fight and forced the Germans into heavy to capture improved “bunkers” in Nadrzeczna Street. In one of these bunkers, Mordechai Zylberberg committed suicide. In the fighting and the mass executions, 1,500 Jews died. On 30th April, the “small ghetto” resistance was suppressed. On that day, around 500 Jews were burned alive in the ghetto.
The remaining 3,900 Jews were gathered into three slave labour camps in which the conditions were reminiscent of a concentration camp. The camps were: Apparatebau (Hasag-Pelcery), Warthewerk (Hasag-Warta) and Eisenhütte (Hasag-Huta Częstochowa). On 29th July 1943, a selection was carried out amongst the prisoners, a result of which was that 300 people were shot in Hasag-Pelcery and a further 100 people were killed on Garibaldi Street. In December, 1,200 Jews were evacuated to Germany. The men were taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp, while the women were taken to Dachau concentration camp (all perished).
In the second half of 1944, Jews from the liquidated ghetto in Łódż and from the liquidated slave labour camps in Kielce and Radomsk (mainly Skarżysko-Kamienna) were transferred for slave labour in Częstochowa. As a result, the number of slave labourers grew to around 10,000.
On 15th and 16th January 1945, a rapid evacuation of about 3,000 Jews was carried to concentration camps in the Third Reich – they all perished. In Częstochowa, the remaining 5,200 prisoners were eventually liberated[5.1].
Another 3,000 Częstochowa Jews were liberated in the concentration camps in Bergen-Belsen (15th April), Buchenwald (Ist May) and Ravensbruck (5th May)[5.2].
After the end of the War, Jewish schools, orphanages and religious organizations were established in Częstochowa. In June 1946, around 2,000 Jews lived in the city. However the pogrom in Kielce (4th July 1946) inclined the majority to emigrate. The majority of Jewish organizations suspended their operations in 1950.
[5.1] http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/Czestochowa2/Czestochowa2.html (accessed 17 VI 2009).
[5.2] http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Czestochowa/cze039.html (accessed 17 VI 2009).
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