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Yad Vashem This Month in Holocaust History
July
July 31, 1940 - German police unit publicly abuses and humiliates Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Hagerman in Olkusz, Poland, on “Bloody Wednesday”

July 31, 1940

German police unit publicly abuses and humiliates Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Hagerman in Olkusz, Poland, on “Bloody Wednesday”

The Olkusz Memorial book describes how a German police unit arrived in Olkusz on July 31, 1940, and gathered all the Jewish men in the main square. There the Jews were forced to lie on the ground while the policemen and members of the SD “registered them”. During this process, the Germans brutally beat the Jews, shooting one of them. In order to further humiliate them, Rabbi Moshe Yitzhak Hagerman was forced to don his tallith (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries) that had been defiled, and to stand barefoot and pray next to the prostrate men of the Jewish community. At the end of the day, the Jews were permitted to return home, and the Germans left. Due to the beatings suffered by the Jews, the event was subsequently referred to as “Bloody Wednesday”.

The Jews of Olkusz were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, and most perished there. According to a Page of Testimony filled out in his memory by his sister, Rabbi Moshe Yitzchak Hagerman was murdered in 1942 in Majdanek.

More information on Olkusz and the collection of photographs.

Yad Vashem Photo Archives 4613/903