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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 Community of Staszów during the Holocaust

The Germans bombed Staszów on 5 September 1939. Jews whose homes were damaged in the bombardment sought shelter in cellars or fled to the nearby forest.  The Germans occupied the town after two days, and one month later, started to boycott Jewish stores and workshops.

In October 1939, the Germans appointed a Judenrat in Staszów, headed by Ephraim Zyngier, a member of the Agudat Yisrael party. Zyngier was told to elect eight Judenrat members, but no one wanted the position and the Germans forced Jews to join. Survivor testimonies describe Zyngier as a positive man who retained his integrity and values, and tried his hardest to protect the Jews of the ghetto. In November, a 200,000 zloty fine was imposed on the Jewish community. With great difficulty, the community succeeded in raising the entire sum on time. When the first refugees from Kalisz and Sierdze reached Staszów, the Judenrat set up a committee to help them that organized a soup kitchen providing meals for almost 400 people.

In December 1939, the Jews of Staszów were ordered to wear a white armband with a blue Star of David. Approximately one month later, SS men accompanied by gendarmes arrived in Staszów and spent several days confiscating Jewish property.  In late September 1940, the German governor appointed the Polish Suchni Mayor of Staszów. From December 1941, three anti-Jewish edicts were promulgated one after the other, as part of a comprehensive decree by Hans Frank, ruler of the General Government: a ban on leaving the city without express permission from the German governor; confiscation of Jewish-owned furs – whoever was found in possession of a fur would be executed; and a ban on opening Jewish-owned stores, businesses and factories.

In May 1940, Jews in Staszów were conscripted for forced labor and worked in terrible conditions in order to produce wooden products for Germany from the forest's trees.  Two months later, all Jews over the age of 15 were conscripted for forced labor two days a week. In order to facilitate the implementation of the order, the Judenrat established a labor office.    Many Jews worked as forced laborers for the "Emler " road paving company. Each day, the Judenrat provided the company with some 250 laborers, who lived in an open camp set up on the outskirts of Staszów. They were divided into two groups: one group produced gravel, while the second drained swamps. Other Jewish youngsters were sent to forced labor in camps in the Lublin district.

In June 1942, the Judenrat was ordered to provide 100 Jewish volunteers to work in the ammunition warehouse at the Skarzysko-Kamienna labor camp.  A list was drawn up and the Jewish Order Police rounded up the "volunteers". The Judenrat equipped them with work clothes and money. None of these young men ever reached the camp, and were all murdered.

On 15 June 1942, the Germans established a ghetto on approximately one third of the total area of StaszówThe ghetto was located in two separate parts of the town. Both sections of the ghetto were fenced in, and could be entered only via gates guarded by Polish policemen and members of the Jewish Order Police. Jews from the two sections of the ghetto were permitted to meet for two hours a day, at specified times. 

The Jews of Staszów lived in extremely cramped conditions in the ghetto. They were joined by refugees who had arrived from Kalisz and Łódź as early as December 1939. Their incarceration in a sealed ghetto affected the Jews' ability to engage in bartering for food with the surrounding villages. In parallel, policemen from the regional gendarmerie frequently raided and looted Jewish homes. The overcrowding and harsh living conditions caused widespread cases of typhus and dysentery.  In an effort to alleviate the untenable situation, the Judenrat opened a soup kitchen.  

Rumors about the liquidation of Jewish communities in the General Government reached Staszów as early as April 1942. In an effort to prevent the liquidation of the Staszów  ghetto, Judenrat chairman Zyngier persuaded the Germans to establish workshops there.  In the summer, three workshops for the production of Wehrmacht uniforms were set up, one in the "Beit Yosef" yeshiva, one in the municipal gymnasium outside the ghetto and one in the synagogue. Some 800 Jews were employed in these workshops, their work permits providing protection from deportation. The sewing machines were collected from ghetto residents' homes by the Jewish Order Police.

Approximately 2,000 additional Jews reached the ghetto in the course of October 1942, having been deported there from surrounding towns. 

A large Aktion was instigated in the ghetto on 8 November 1942, commencing with the murder of Judenrat chairman Zyngier. The German order that all the ghetto's Jews report to the market square within two hours was disseminated by the Jewish Order Police. Some 5,000 men, women and children gathered in the square under fire, and were marched in the direction of Szczuczyn. 740 of Staszów's Jews were shot to death en route and buried in a mass-grave.  From Szczuczyn, the remaining Jews were deported to the Treblinka and Belzec extermination camps and murdered. 

In the course of the Aktion, some of the ghetto inmates escaped to the surrounding forests, while others hid in bunkers. After the deportation, these Jews were hunted down.  The Germans raided Jewish homes, located some of the bunkers and murdered the Jews hiding inside. Workers at the "Emler" factory and the sewing workshops were left in the ghetto, as well as the Jewish Order Police and some 1,200 who emerged unscathed from the bunkers. Of those caught, some were sent to the Sandomierz ghetto and then deported to Treblinka when the ghetto was liquidated in 1943; others were sent to the Poniatowa labor camp, where most of them were murdered.

"They told us that there were two bunkers, one above and one below.  We went into the lower one.  There were 15, 20 people inside the bunker, and there was water and a little food, in the upper bunker as well.  I don't remember how long we sat there because we couldn't light a candle: there was no air. It was impossible to light a candle, and there was certainly no oxygen.  I assume it was more than a day or two. My sister and her boyfriend fled back to the forests… But the Germans roamed the area.  They were searching, we heard them knocking upstairs but they didn't find [us]."

(Excerpt from the testimony of Esther Forsher, Yad Vashem Document Archive, O.3/5560)

Several instances of rescue attempts in Staszów by Righteous Among the Nations have been documented, including the actions of Maria Szczecińska.

Before World War II, Maria Szczecińska, a widow with five children, lived in Staszów.  She worked at the railway station as a clerk, and knew the local Jewish tradesmen.  In 1941, Jewish acquaintances approached her and asked her to hide them.  She agreed, and hid them in a small shack that she used to store logs for heating.  The Jews returned to the ghetto, and came to her again after the ghetto's liquidation.  From October 1942 until August 1943 Maria hid 16 Jews in a bunker she dug under her house.  When the Gestapo got wind of her activities, Maria moved the Jews to a hiding place in the forest and later returned them to her house.  All those hidden by Maria and her family survived until liberation.  In 1981, Yad Vashem recognized Maria and her son Jerzy as Righteous Among the Nations.