On the night of 17-18 January 1943, in the Czółno forest [Czółna][1.1]] near Lubochnia, 3 Poles shot a group of a dozen Jews, the inhabitants of Czerniewice, who were hiding in a dugout, near the Gać river.

According to the findings of the Institute of National Remembrance, "the victims were shot with the use of Mauser rifles and other unidentified firearms. (...) The perpetrators of the murder were Antoni K., Czesław S. and Jan A., who were judged for their crimes in post-war trials. (....) The possible motive of the perpetrators might have been robbery. As the Court has established, after the murder, the perpetrators shared the money and jewellery taken from the dugout, although it cannot be ruled out that the intention to steal the property arouse after the murder. (...) Czesław S. and Jan A. belonged to the forest unit of the Home Army, "Mściciel", while Antoni K. was most probably a commander in the municipality of Czerniewice. (...) Before the court, the defendants stated that the reason for the murder was the necessity to liquidate the Jewish families who had robbed the property of the local population and reported to the Germans the families who were helping the partisans. At the same time, they claimed that they acted following the orders (...). The explanations of the defendants were found to be devoid of factual basis and not very credible"[1.2].

Thanks to the testimonies of Wolf Pakuła and Georg Szainfarber, the names of most of the victims are known:

  • Szajnfarber Icchak Dawid, the son of Szyja Benjamin
  • Szajnfarber Szajndla née Pakuła
  • Szajnfarber Szyja Benjamin, the son of Icchak Dawid
  • Szajnfarber Berl Dow, the son of Icchak Dawid
  • Szajnfarber Rywka, the daughter of Icchak Dawid
  • Szajnfarber Sara, the daughter of Icchak Dawid
  • Lutman Chaja Alta Perla, née Szajnfarber, the daughter of Icchak David
  • Lutman Idel (the husband of Chaja Alta Perla)
  • Szajnfarber Isachar Dow, the son of Szyja Benjamin
  • Woman with two children (wife and children of Isachar Dov)
  • Lonknowicz Mindla née Szajnfarber, the daughter of Szyja Benjamin
  • Lonknowicz (the husband of Mindla)
  • Lonknowicz (a child)
  • Cytronowicz Szymon, the son of Mendel
  • Cytronowicz Ruwin, the son of Mendel
  • Cytronowicz Samuel, the son of Mendel

The remains of those murdered in October 2002 were found by accident by the hunter of militaria, Bogdan Przydalski. After digging out the skull and bones, he notified the media. The case reached the prosecutor's office. This discovery broke the silence - many elderly residents of the nearby villages knew about the tragedy and the unmarked grave. The witnesses to the events spoke up. One of them was Władysław Kobyłecki, who saw the victims of the execution. In his statement for the editor Joanna Leszczyńska of "Dziennik Łódzki" (No. 239, 12/13 October 2002), he spoke about the murder scene in the following way:

"The Jews were lying next to each other, as if someone had arranged them. There were probably sixteen bodies. I knew everyone. Among the dead, I saw a girl who used to work in a shop. She was naked, like at the moment her mother given birth to her, covered in blood. Each body was naked, frozen and covered in blood".

At the end of 2002, the corpses of the victims were exhumed and placed in a fraternal grave in the Jewish cemetery in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The funeral ceremony, in 2002, was attended by, among others: rabbi Michael Schudrich, rabbi Symcha Keller, Wolf Pakuła - a member of the family of the murdered in the Czółno forest [Czółna], employees of the Voivodeship and City Council and a group of residents of Tomaszów Mazowiecki.

 

 

Print
Footnotes
  • [1.1] On the pre-war WIG maps of the area of Tomaszów Mazowiecki, there is a name: “Las Czółna” (Czółno forest) [online] http://maps.mapywig.org/m/WIG_maps/series/100K/P42_S30_TOMASZOW_MAZOWIECKI_1937_nnRTfkk_BN_Sygn.ZZK_S-663_A.jpg [access on 20 October 2022
  • [1.2] Komunikat IPN OKSZPNP, Łódź, 16 July 2004