Jewish Police

Jewish Police (Jewish Order Service): a kind of police units, which was formed by Germans at the time of creating a ghetto in a town or city. Aside from doing normal police work, which is fighting against criminality, doing the order service work and working against epidemics, Jewish Police stood guard at the ghetto’s gates and did the roundups of Jews in order to send them to work camps. Guarding of the gates was related with working against smuggling and against illegal crossing of borders of the ghetto to go to the other side, called Aryan side, which from the very beginning of existence of ghettos caused deep aversion of the habitants toward the Jewish Police. The service was unpaid, but it granted many privileges, such as exemption from compulsory work and bigger rations of food. Apart from that there were many possibilities of corruption, which was very common among Jewish policemen. During the period of deportations to extermination camps, policemen participated in chasing people who were hiding and bringing them to a collection point. In Warsaw Ghetto during the big deportation action in summer of 1942 every Jewish policeman had to bring to Umschlagplatz 5 people a day; members of his family were hostages. Jewish Order Service became a symbol of betrayal of the nation and resistance movement fought against it: there was an attempt in Warsaw against life of police commandant – Jakub Szeryński and his deputy – Jakub Lejkin. However in some ghettos, for example in Wilno (Vilnius) or Nieśwież, great part of policemen cooperated with ghetto’s underground and participated in armed protests which took place in these cities.

The term was created within the framework of the project Zapisywanie świata żydowskiego w Polsce [recording the Jewish environment in Poland], whose author is Anka Grupińska, a well-known Polish journalist and writer, specializing in the modern history of the Polish Jews. The project, initiated in 2006 by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, consists in recording interviews with Polish Jews from all generations.
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