December 20, 1940
A Zionist gathering in Bendzin, Poland
During the pre-war years, Zionist activity in Bendzin was extensive. Bendzin became a Zionist stronghold and many leading figures from the World Zionist Movement visited the city during the 1930’s. These activities almost completely ceased with the outbreak of the war when a large portion of the Zionist members fled to the Soviet areas and others attempted to flee and eventually reach Eretz Israel. With many of these attempts failing and the return of many of those who fled back to the city, the youth movements “Dror”, “Hashomer Hatzair”, “Gordonya” and others renewed their activities. This included, in addition to their educational endeavors, aid enterprises such as public soup kitchens for starving children. The Zionist Youth Activities in Bendzin reached their peak in the spring of 1941, a period when their ranks reached 1,400.
Deportations from Bendzin began in May and June 1942. By August 1943, 27,000 Jews from Bendzin and Sosnowiec had been deported to Auschwitz.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives 5255/7