The Jews and their Polish Neighbors

After the First World War, when Polish authority in Trzebinia was renewed, local Polish mobs rioted against the Jews. On 3 November 1918, native residents demonstrated to mark the renewal of Polish rule. Among the demonstrators were Jews, who came in force to display their loyalty. When Vlad, the Jewish representative, stood up to speak, cries of “Down with the Jews!” were heard. Leading the hecklers was the well-known antisemite from Trzebinia, Dr. Dobrzyński. The Jews assembled at the synagogue, where they decided to form a Jewish militia. Heading the town’s general militia was Dr. Dobrzyński, whose first official job was to de-arm the Jewish militia.

Fearing a further spate of attacks, the non-Jews in Trzebinia quickly marked their houses with crucifixes. This left the Jewish homes clearly visible for the mobs, and just a few days later, their houses and stores began to be robbed. Many Jews were fiercely attacked. The hordes also broke into the synagogue and desecrated Torah scrolls. That evening an army unit arrived from Kraków, but the soldiers and officers merely stood by and watched the events. Only school principal Tzerlog tried to stop the riots.

Assaults on Jews renewed in 1919, with the train station becoming a marked site for attacks against Jewish travelers, including the elderly and children. Many of the perpetrators were soldiers in General Haller’s army, as well as workers from the Trzebinia lead-casting factory.