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Visiting Info
Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday: ‬09:00-17:00

Fridays and Holiday eves: ‬09:00-14:00

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

Entrance to the Holocaust History Museum is not permitted for children under the age of 10. Babies in strollers or carriers will not be permitted to enter.

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The History of the Szydłowiec Jewish Community

In 1939, the town of Szydłowiec in Poland had a Jewish community numbering some 7,000 members. Economically, they subsisted primarily on industry, craftsmanship and trade. Culturally, the Jewish community maintained a wide variety of educational, cultural and religious institutions, in which nearly all of the political and ideological movements at the time were represented: the Zionists, the Socialists, and the Orthodox Agudat Yisrael.

In September 1939, Szydłowiec fell under German occupation. The community’s leaders successfully bribed members of the German regional government, which may be the reason for the very late establishment of a ghetto in the town (as late as December 1941). Moreover, even after this point the ghettoized area was not surrounded by barbed wire, despite the fact that thousands of Jews from the surrounding areas, as well as Jews expelled from distant ghettos, were crowded into the Szydłowiec ghetto. The deportations to Szydłowiec swelled the numbers in the Szydłowiec ghetto by many thousands.

In September 1942, German SS men accompanied by their auxiliary Ukrainian forces liquidated the Szydłowiec ghetto, sending its residents to their death in Treblinka. Following this a second ghetto (a “Restored Ghetto”) was created; it was used to hold another 5,000 Jews, most of whom had been exploited for slave labor in nearby forced labor camps. The second Szydłowiec ghetto was used as a holding point for Jews of three categories: those so emaciated from their slave labor, that they had been deemed “unable to work"; those who had been deported from other ghettos; and those who had been caught in hiding. In January 1943 the “Restored Ghetto” was also liquidated, its Jews deported to Treblinka where they were murdered. A small number of Jews survived by hiding, fleeing, or survived their incarceration in the forced labor camps.

The Jewish Community of Szydłowiec before the Holocaust

The Jewish Community of Szydłowiec before the Holocaust

Szydłowiec was founded in the 13th century, and three hundred years later it had become an important commercial and industrial center. The Jewish community in Szydłowiec was relatively affluent; its members made their living primarily from industry and trade. At the end of the 19th century, some 6,000 Jews lived in Szydłowiec, constituting approximately 75% of the population. At this time the Jews of Szydłowiec began to work as leather tanners and shoe manufacturers – new occupations that joined, but did not supplant, the Szydłowiec Jews' traditional employment...
A street in Szydłowiec

The German Occupation of Szydlowiec and the Establishment of the Ghetto

Immediately after the German invasion of Poland in early September 1939, the Germans bombed the town of Szydłowiec and its surroundings. The presence of Polish military forces in the vicinity turned the town into a battleground, and many of the Jews escaped to the nearby villages. On 6 September the Polish Army withdrew from the town and its environs, and locals took advantage of the chaos to loot the property of the Jews of Szydłowiec.
The First Deportation from Szydłowiec

The First Deportation from Szydłowiec

On 23 September 1942, the German auxiliary units – Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Polish policemen together with the local firefighters, under the command of SS officers – surrounded the ghetto. The residents of the ghetto were concentrated at various points within its area. The patients of the Jewish hospital, located in the synagogue, were among the first to be murdered. Other Jews were shot down in the street as they were being marched to the collection points. Some 10,000 Jews were marched to the train station, four kilometers from the town. During this march many of those...
German policemen examining the property of Jews being deported from Szydłowiec.

The Establishment of the “Restored Ghetto” in Szydłowiec, and the Final Liquidation

In November 1942 the Germans established a “restored ghetto” in two different parts of Szydłowiec; both ghetto areas were surrounded by barbed wire. The German authorities ordered Jews who had survived the deportations to settle within the new ghettos, on threat of death. Within a short period of time some 5,000 Jews were gathered in the new ghetto. These were Jews who remained from the Szydłowiec community as well as deportees from other towns; a fifth of the new ghetto’s population – some 1,000 Jews – were deportees from Radom. The ghetto’s houses had...