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Yad Vashem On One Clear Day. The Story of Jewish Wolbrom

During the Holocaust

Deportation from the Wolbrom market square, September 1942

On One Clear Day

Deportation from the Wolbrom market square, September 1942Deportation from the Wolbrom market square, September 1942

“Saturday, 5 September 1942. A few days earlier the Jews of Miechow had been killed, and we already knew that the Wolbrom Jews were next. A community of almost nine thousand people knew that they were about to be eliminated from the face of the earth in a most cruel and terrible way…

The town was surrounded by a ring of hundreds of Polish police, firemen and simple Poles who wanted to help make Wolbrom free of Jews. They made sure that no one would be able to leave town. Some Jews tried to break through the guards’ chain and escape, but most were shot and killed…

Early the next morning they began to drag the Jews out of the houses and to gather them in the central square - the Market square. At first the Jews refused to leave and preferred to die on the spot. It is known that many died a heroic death, covered with their prayer shawls…Within two or three hours, most of the Jews had been gathered in square and it was fully crowded with people.

Jews who had to work for the Germans were promised to be left in the town. The Germans also promised they would leave behind some families, as well as a doctor, the pharmacist and the rabbi, to perform different services. But that Saturday, the Germans “forgot” their promise and made everyone come to the assembly point, saying the city was to be totally freed of Jews…

Several horse-drawn carts had been prepared, and the old and weak who couldn’t walk to the railway station were told to board them. The Jews on the carts were taken directly to the forest across from the cemetery, where they were forced to undress and then were killed by shooting…

Around noon they led us to the marshy area across from the railway station. With our heads bent low and our faces buried in the ground, we passed along the main road – Krakow Street. It is impossible to describe the atmosphere and the feelings of the people in this terrible procession...Bent and helpless, people moved forward like deadly shadows, disappointed and desperate in face of the terrible disaster - of the killing that was being perpetrated in broad daylight and with no one protesting...

Experiencing enormous torture and suffering, we finally arrived at the railway station, where we were ordered to sit down without moving. In the evening hours they brought the Jews from other place that had no railway connections.

The following day, on Sunday, they began to forcefully separate the families. The young men were put on one side….Many people refused to separate from their families, although they could save themselves, at least for some time. Many tried to take an old father or a younger brother to the labor camp.

I will never forget how Fishel Weingarten tried to have his deaf and dumb brother, Shayke, join him. But the Germans, who for some reason realized that he was deaf and dumb, refused to let him join his brother. But Fishel did not give up, and returned several times, risking his life, until he managed to take Shayke along...

As soon as the train arrived, we all began spontaneously to cry – the women, old people and children on one side, and the men on the other. We all knew that we were about to part forever and that we would never see each other again. We knew what was ahead, but I would like to insist that we all felt that the real truth had not dawned on us.

The Jews of Wolbrom cried and mourned their bitter fate – the fate of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, who were doomed to die a most terrible death.

This weeping rings in my ears until this very day. It disturbs my rest in the days, and keeps me awake in the nights. A weeping that can move rocks and turn them into thin dust...”

Benjamin Katz in Wolbrom Irenu