Jewish policemen and members of the Judenrat at a wedding in the Bochnia Ghetto, Poland
Approximately 2,500 Jews lived in Bochnia, Poland, between the two world wars. They worked primarily in trade, crafts and industry.
On September 3, 1939, the Germans conquered Bochnia and began taking Jews for forced labor. Jewish craftsmen were taken to workshops within the city. In 1941 the deportation of Jews to labor camps in the area began. Despite this, the Jews of Bochnia attempted to maintain normal lives to the extent that this was possible, optimistically and faithfully hoping for a better future. Self-aid was organized, and a clinic and soup kitchen were opened.
On March 16, 1942, a sealed ghetto was established in Bochnia. The Jews who worked outside of the ghetto smuggled food into the ghetto, despite the anticipated punishments of imprisonment or deportation to a labor camp if they were to be caught.
This photograph was taken at a wedding that was held in June 1942. Standing next to the bride and groom are members of the Jewish ghetto police and members of the Judenrat, the Jewish council in Bochnia.
Two months after this photograph was taken, on August 24, 1942, the first aktion in Bochnia began. The majority of the inhabitants of the ghetto were deported to the Belzec death camp. Those who had hidden and were caught were murdered on the spot. After the aktion, murders sporadically took place in the ghetto. In two additional aktions, one at the end of 1942 and the other at the end of 1943, along with the women and children, those Jews lacking the proper work permits were deported to Belzec. The patients in the hospital were murdered along with part of the medical staff, and a few of the remaining Jews of the ghetto were sent to labor camps.
On October 1, 1943, Bochnia was declared to be “judenrein”, empty of Jews.
Yad Vashem Photo Archives 3939/4