Artur Szyndler

Leon Schönker and his plan of emigration of Jews from Katowice Regency at the end of 1939


In October 1939 Leon Schönker, the Head of the Council of Elders of the Jewish Religious Community in the town of Auschwitz (Oświęcim), created the Central Emigration Bureau, acting on the Nazi orders. The Bureau was called to life in order to organize mass emigration of Jews from the Katowice Regency. At the end of November, a delegation of the Jewish Councils of Elders from the regency traveled to Berlin headed by Leon Schönker to discuss the immigration and to present his detailed plans to the highest German authorities. Despite the fact that the mission to Berlin did not bear any success the project was continued. In the early February 1940, the Emigration Bureau was relocated from Oświęcim to Sosnowiec to become part of the Central Office of Jewish Council of Elders of Eastern Upper Silesia headed by Mojżesz Merin. Following its liquidation in late April plans for the immigration of Jews from this region were ultimately abandoned.