December 24, 1939
A synagogue going up in flames in Siedlce, Poland
On December 24, 1939, Christmas Eve, approximately two months after occupying the city, Germans, along with Polish policemen, encircled the synagogue in Siedlce, removed the Torah scrolls from the building, and lit aflame both the synagogue and the Torah scrolls. The fire also spread to the neighboring Jewish study house (beit midrash) and Jewish community offices. After the fire, the Germans ordered the Polish police to prepare a report holding the Jews responsible for igniting the fire. After the synagogue was burnt down many Jews were deported to labor camps in the Lublin area. On August 1, 1941, two ghettos were established in Siedlce that together contained 12,000 Jews. Most of the Jews in Siedlce were shot by the Nazis or their Ukrainian collaborators, or deported to Treblinka. About 2,000 Jews from Siedlce survived the war.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives 2656/155