The Judenrat in Plonsk

Deportation of the Jews from Plonsk

The Plonsk Judenrat was established on 1 July 1940, when the Germans turned the Plonsk Aid Committee into the Judenrat and delegated it the job of recruiting Jews for forced labor. At the head of the Judenrat stood Yaakov Ramek, and its members included Bogati, Grabman, A. Mondlak, Y. Kubel and S. Sieradzki. Alongside the Judenrat a Jewish police force was formed, with six officers. The Plonsk Judenrat was considered by the Germans to embrace the entire region of Plonsk. The head of the Judenrat labor office was Shlomo Fuks. Levin, from Dobrzyń, headed the Jewish police; his deputy was Hanan Ramek, the brother of the Judenrat chairman. The Judenrat managed to procure food for the Jews of Plonsk, delay the establishment of the ghetto, and release Jews from imprisonment.

The Plonsk Jews were forced to clean the city, repair houses and streets, work in the fields, quarry peat, reclaim land and carry out housekeeping duties for the Germans. Professionals were put to work in factories, workshops and businesses that had been confiscated by the Germans from Jews and Poles. Jews from Plonsk were sent to the Dalanowka, Nosarzewo, and Sierpc (female) labor camps. Part of the wages they received was transferred to the Judenrat, which was also aided by revenues that some of its members received from doing business with the Germans. The wealthy paid the Judenrat to replace them with the poor for forced labor.

In accordance with the demands of the German authorities, young girls would be sent from time to time to Sierpc, to work in the goose plucking factory. After work, they would come home. The girls to be sent to this work were chosen by the Judenrat… they would obviously choose the wealthier girls, those whose parents had the means to pay a ransom and then the poorer girls would go in their place. One winter's day, I was standing next to the Judenrat and I saw the poor girls waiting, barefoot, to leave. I pointed out the state of their clothing to [Judenrat head] Ramek. He ordered clothes to be gathered from various people and brought to them so they could dress appropriately.

Zelig Krojn, Sefer Plonsk, p. 453

After the Jewish businesses were confiscated, twelve traders set up a cooperative, with the knowledge of the Judenrat, to distribute food to the Jews of Plonsk. The food was apportioned according to coupons at a number of locations. At the beginning of 1941, the Judenrat set up a soup kitchen that provided hundreds of hot meals every day, mostly to the refugees. They also established a children's home in the ghetto for 40 orphans aged 4-10, administered by the teacher Ms. Grünberg.

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