The Dąbrowa Górnicza Jewish Community during the Holocaust
Aktions in the Dąbrowa Górnicza Ghetto and the Murder of the Ghetto's Jews
In May 1942, the Judenrat was ordered to prepare a list of 700 of the ghetto's residents, and they presented themselves in the square facing the Jewish council building. They were permitted to bring ten kilograms of personal luggage as well as food; they were then deported to Auschwitz. During that period, other Jewish forced laborers were conscripted and sent to labor camps in the Breslau region.
On 12 August, an Aktion took place in the ghetto known as "The Great Turning Point". The Jews were ordered to present themselves at 8 am in front of the community building, for registration and selection. They did as they were ordered, most of them dressed in their best clothes. The selection process began at 10 am on order of Friedrich Kochinsky of the Schmelt Organization, the representative of SS officer Dreier, who was in charge of all the deportations from Zaglębie that day. The Jews were divided into three groups: those with work permits, those families in which one or more member had work permits, and adults or families with children.
Of the 3,000 Jews present at the selection that morning, 1,500 were sent back home and the rest marked for deportation. They stayed in the square under guard all night. Some used the torrential rain as an opportunity to flee the square and go into hiding. Those remaining were transported the following morning to the Bedzin ghetto, where they stayed in an orphanage before being transported to Auschwitz, most likely on 17 August, with Jews from Bedzin and Sosnowiec.
The Jews in the labor groups left in Dąbrowa Górnicza were concentrated in the ghetto, which was sealed following the Aktion. A Volksdeutsche – Polish citizen of German origin – was placed in charge of the ghetto residents. The overcrowding in the ghetto was extreme – at least six to seven people on average to one room.
Even after the sealing of the ghetto, deportations of Jews to labor camps continued. In the fall of 1942, some 650 Jews were taken from the ghetto to the Skarzysko-Kamienna labor camp.
The last Jews of Dąbrowa Górnicza – some 1,000 people – were deported to the Srodula ghetto in Sosnowiec in July 1943. Most of them were then taken to Auschwitz with the Jews of Sosnowiec; a few were sent to labor camps.
At the war's end, approximately 300 Jews of Dąbrowa Górnicza had survived, almost all in various labor camps. In the year that followed, almost all of them left Dąbrowa Górnicza, moving westward along the "Bricha" (escape) routes to DP camps in the regions controlled by the Allied forces in Western Germany.