In the summer of 1941, the Nazis established a ghetto in Radom. The decision was announced in March, whereas and in the first days of April the Jewish inhabitants were relocated to the ghetto by force.
The ghetto area had two separate parts: the so-called "big ghetto" was located near the Old Town and included the following streets (here by the their current names): Szwarlikowska, Esterki, Brudna, Żytnia, Limanowskiego, Zgodna, Plac Stare Miasto, Fredry, Przechodnia, Asnyka, Krakowska, Kanałowa, Anielewicza, Bóżnicza, Wałowa, Lekarska, Podwalna. Around 25 000 people were placed in this part of the ghetto.
The "little ghetto" was located in the Glinice district and included the following streets: Graniczna, Błotna, Wrześniowskiego, Kośna, Kwiatkowskiego, Blata, Pusta, Placowa, Konopnickiej, Niemcewicza, Inwalidów Wojennych, Złota, Kinowa, Prosta, Dąbrowskiego, Lubońskiego. In the beginning, around 8 000 Jews were placed in this part of the ghetto. On 7 April 1941, both locations were turned into closed ghettos; the inhabitants were not to leave under threat of death. In Radom, as opposed to Warsaw, the ghettos were not fenced but their borders were set by existing buildings. In addition, 13 gates, guarded by the Polish and Jewish police, were built in the "large ghetto". Refugees and emigrants from other cities were also relocated to Radom ghettos.
Living conditions in the ghetto were harsh. Sometimes one room was occupied even by about 15 of people. The "little ghetto" was less crowded, but still more people preferred the "large ghetto," where a number of Jewish establishments and institutions, such as the "Judenrat," were located. The Jews were repressed in many ways, mostly through forced labor for the occupant. "Judenrat" had to provide around 1500 workers every day.
In February 1942 the Germans carried out the first of their many “operations." A group of leftist Jewish activists was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Another such operation, called later "Bloody Wednesday," was carried out on 28 April 1942. The SS arrested the representatives of Jewish institutions, including members of "Judenrat," the Jewish police, activists of Bundu and other parties. They have been sent to KL Auschwitz as well.
Preparations to dissolve the Radom ghetto began in May 1942. The buildings of "Korona" factory had been emptied in order to store there all the belongings of Jews. At the same time "Judenrat" was ordered to deliver maps of the ghetto together with a list of Jewish real estates.
The dissolution of the "little ghetto" took place on 5 August 1942. The SS surrounded the ghetto a day before. At midnight the Jewish police started to throw people out of their apartments. Those with work permits were assembled in Kuszno street, everyone else in Graniczna street. The SS and members of the Security Service of Ukraine have also taken part in the operation and were extremely brutal. Many people were maltreated or killed. According to different sources, from 60 to 600-700 people were killed. A group of around 1000 workers was relocated to the "large ghetto." The remaining ghetto inhabitants were lead to a siding near the "Bata" shoe factory and loaded into boxcars. Around 2000 random people who were caught in the "large ghetto" joined them. Up to 150 people were forced into each of the boxcars which were disinfected with calcium and chlorine. The people were beaten and their valuables taken away. The trains headed for Treblinka. Many bodies of Jews killed during the loading were left at the siding. They were taken and buried in a common grave at the Biała Street.
The "large ghetto" was dissolved on 16-18 August 1942. It was sealed off and surrounded by the German and Ukrainian forces. The inhabitants of the ghetto were ordered to gather in the market square and in the Wałowa street. Those who resisted and tried to hide were shot immediately. Many patients at the Jewish hospital were killed as well. In the building which housed a poultry slaughterhouse, a group of children was killed with grenades. Around 4000 selected workers remained in Radom. The rest – around 25 000 people – were hurried to a siding by the "Marwil" factory.
This is how Izaak Zeimemann describes this tragic march in his testimonials kept in the Yad Vashem Institute: "The procession of people was over a kilometer long. They were shot at and beaten. I saw women whose children were taken away, the little heads were crushed against walls and the pavement. (....) I saw dozens of dead bodies." After being crammed into the boxcars, the inhabitants of the ghetto were taken to the camp in Treblinka and then to the gas chambers there. The travel conditions of the last journey were described in the memoirs of Ita Jom-Tow from Siedlce. A fragment of these memoirs has been cited by Edward Kopówka in his book entitled "Żydzi w Siedlcach 1850-1945": "20 August 1942 (....) The Germans demanded to provide immediately a several dozen of workers to unload the boxcars. After the boxcars had been opened, it turned out they contain dead bodies of Jewish women, men and children, who were coming from Radom. The car was part of the death train, which transported Jews to Treblinka. This one couldn't reach its destination due to a fire. When the workers opened it, they saw about a hundred dead bodies - jumbled up and pressed against each other. Everyone died because of the heat, lack of air and because of the stench of unslaked lime. (....) Heniek Adler from Radom has seen there his many Jewish friends. (Ita Jom-Tow Zagłada Siedlec in: Księga Pamięci gminy Siedlce, a reprint of Edward Kopówka Żydzi w Siedlcach 1850-1945).
The remaining group of workers was used for manual labor in "sheds" located in the city and in the nearby labor camps. Gradually, they have also been exterminated by the Nazis.
Works cited:
Krzysztof Urbański "Zagłada Żydów w dystrykcie radomskim"
A review by Daniel Blatman in: "Pinkas HaKehilot, Encyclopaedia of Jewish Communities, Poland Vol. VII Districts Lublin • Kielce"
Edward Kopówka "Żydzi w Siedlcach 1850-1945."

 

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