The Ghetto in Majdan Tatarski


The Lublin residual ghetto was established in the second half of April 1942 in the working-class district of Majdan Tatarski situated on the south-eastern outskirts of the city. Several thousand Jews, who thanks to their “privileged” status survived the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze, were transferred to this relatively small area. The new Jewish housing zone was called the “Musterghetto” (“master ghetto”) by the German authorities. However, overpopulation and living conditions here were dramatic. The annihilation of the district was carried out in stages, marked by successive selections. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place at the beginning of November 1942 when 200 people were murdered on its premises and those who remained alive were sent to the camp at Majdanek (KL Lublin).


Table of contents:
1. The forming of the ghetto
2. Resettlement
3. Streets included in the ghetto
4. The first selection
5. Living conditions in the ghetto
6. Institutions operating in the ghetto
7. The influx of refugees
8. The second selection
9. The third selection



The forming of the ghetto


The creation of the ghetto was preceded by the resettlement of Polish residents from the area to other parts of Lublin, which took place between the 14th and the 15th of April. Initially, Polish inhabitants were transferred to three temples which functioned as temporary shelters: St Bernard's and the Dominican and Carmelite churches. Having been allocated, they moved into particular flats, including those situated in tenement houses recently marking the western boundary of the ghetto in Podzamcze, as well as in Lubartowska, Targowa (including Targowy Square) and Ruska Street1. Jews who had to move into the residual ghetto often found only ruined buildings. Ida Glickstein recalls it in the following way:

“(...) There was a tiny settlement by the road from Lublin to Piaski – Majdan Tatarski. It was right next to the “Plage Laśkiewicz” aircraft factory. The village was divided in two by the Germans: the bit closer to the city was left intact and the more distant part was fenced off with double barbed wire and intended as a ghetto, for us. Majdan was inhabited by workmen from the aircraft manufacturer, as well as other neighbouring factories and tanneries. People who have lived in it for many years built their little houses here, set up gardens and kept livestock. And now they were ordered to leave their homes and move to abandoned Jewish flats in Lubartowska and other streets of the ghetto. They cried, despaired, destroying their houses in anger, uprooting young trees, planted with their own hands, but to no avail (…)”2.

Rumours of the imminent resettlement were reaching the Judenrat before the end of the liquidation action in Podzamcze, which is evident from the short written record of a telephone conversation held on April the 12th by its head, Marek Alten, and the representative of the Presidium of the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS). It is from him that Alten received information on German plans concerning the ghetto, without any details mentioned, however3. The rumours were confirmed on the 14th of April when one of the Security Police (SiPo) and Security Service (SD) officers responsible for the liquidation in Podzamcze, SS-Untersturmführer Harry Sturm, informed the Judenrat about the planned resettlement to the residual ghetto in the suburban district of Majdan Tatarski. For the smooth operation of the resettlement, 200 carts were to be used4. Information given by the SS officer was officially confirmed two days later in a decree issued by the Lublin District Governor, Ernst Zörner, on the strength of which only Jews in possession of the J-Ausweis were allowed to reside in the ghetto:

“(…) In the established housing zone, the only Jews allowed are those who received yellow identity cards with a black “J” in a Jewish star printed on them, issued by the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst Headquarters for the Lublin District. The Jewish housing zone can only be entered and exited through a designated gate. (…) Jews taking unauthorised leave of the assigned housing area will be (…) punished with death. People knowingly hiding Jews will be penalised in the same manner (…)”5.
 



Resettlement


The resettlement action started on 17 April, the day when the Judenrat councilmen and clerks, the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP) police officers, members of the disinfection units, as well as craftsmen employed by German authorities and companies were ordered to move to the area of the residual ghetto. During the following two days, the resettlement was extended to include all the other Jewish citizens6. The moment of resettlement is vividly described by Ida Glickstein:

“(...) It was on Friday, the 17th of April 1942. One of the first days of spring, the sun was shining bright and the warm spring breeze had the smell of soil liberated from the shackles of winter. A yearning was born in the heart, the same that fills human souls with the thirst for happiness and life every year. Already at dawn the first carts set off with our belongings stacked in piles on top of them. And then they formed a long line dragging along Nowa, Królewska, Zamojska and turning into Fabryczna Street behind the bridge until they arrived at the gate of the ghetto surrounded with double barbed wire. Germans assured our representatives that it was to be a “Musterghetto”, that Jews from the whole of Poland would envy us (…)”7.

Approximately 8,000 Jews were relocated into the area of the ghetto, 4,000 of whom were “clandestine”, that is not in possession if the J-Ausweis. The new identity card was introduced  between March and April and replaced the hitherto existing stamp in the work permit given by the SiPo and SD less than a month earlier. Only Jews deemed “indispensable” by the German authorities were provided with the document which resulted in the separation of many families. In all, little more that 4,000 J-Ausweis cards were granted along with the same amount of ration books8. It can be assumed that there were many relatives of the J-Ausweis owners among the “clandestines”. Directly after the resettlement was completed, the SiPo and SD officers ordered a population census which was performed by the Judenrat on the night between the 19th and the 20th of April. On its basis, the area of the ghetto was estimated to be occupied by at least several thousand unauthorised Jews. The official reason for the census was to determine the housing needs for the overpopulated district. In reality, however, it served as an introduction to selections which were to take place several hours later. This event is recalled by Anna Bach:

“(...) The first night of our stay in Majdan Tatarski started with a census. It was ordered by the German authorities and carried out by the Jewish community workers. The census revealed unimaginable lack of space and disorder in the settlement. The Nazis came to the conclusion that radical means had to be taken to decrease the number of inhabitants in order to match the intended norm of four thousand people (…)”9.

The census constituted the last stage of the resettlement to the residual ghetto and simultaneously opened a new chapter in the life of the Jewish community in Lublin which started with selections. Despite efforts to limit the number of “clandestines”, with time other refugees – from the Warsaw ghetto or the provincial towns of the Lublin District began to flock to the residual ghetto.
 



Streets included in the ghetto


The residual ghetto was located in the suburban district, Majdan Tatarski, whose western boundary was delimited by Gromadzka Street, the northern by Majdanek Street, and the southern by Majdan Tatarski Street. On its western side, the ghetto bordered with a neighbourhood still inhabited by ethnic Poles. The eastern boundary of the ghetto consisted only of fields.

Rolna Street, which crossed directly through the middle of the district, for practical reasons became the main street of the ghetto. Craftsmen, the Judenrat councilmen and clerks, doctors and the personnel of hospitals and other Jewish institutions were obliged to inhabit houses lining this road. The entry gate was situated most probably on the crossing between Gromadzka and Majdan Tatarski Streets. As a result of heavy rainfall seriously deteriorating the situation in the ghetto, the Judenrat began to pave its roads, something which is clearly evident from the minutes of one of the council meetings:     

“(…) having completed the section of the road in Rolna Street, the paving of the surface in Majdan Tatarski Street is to be immediately started on the section stretching from the entry gate to the yard behind Grajer's restaurant and afterwards from the yard to Rolna”10.



The first selection


The officers from the stationary headquarters of SiPo and SD were very well aware that the area of the ghetto held several thousand “clandestine” Jews which caused problems with overpopulation and lodgings. Selections were deemed the only proper remedy for the situation. The first of these, as with all the future ones, was supervised by SS-Obersturmführer Hermann Worthoff, SS-Untersturmführer Wilhelm Walter, SS-Untersturmführer Harry Sturm, SS-Untersturmführer Knitzky and Ernst Kalich. Auxiliary units of guards from Trawniki were additionally sent to help in Majdan Tatarski 11. The first selection started at dawn on the 20th of April in the yard dividing the area of the ghetto from the Flugplatz work camp and was carried out in a very brutal way – many people were beaten up or shot straight away. The group selected that day consisted of 3,000 women, children and the elderly. Young and middle-aged people were chosen, too. Ida Glickstein was there as well and this is how she describes the course of the selection:   

“(...) The sunrise on Monday came with yet another horrifying surprise. The ghetto was surrounded with a double line of Germans and Ukrainians and we were all ordered out into the spacious yard stretching between the plane factory and the barbed wire fence. (…) The order was given at daybreak when everyone was still asleep. People started throwing clothes on in all haste, some preparing backpacks and a little bit of food, others remembering only the “ausweis” cards. Germans walked from house to house, rushing people: “Schneller, los, los!”. Many were taken out into the yard in their underwear only and as a punishment for not managing to get dressed on time were destined for resettlement immediately. (…) After a dozen or so minutes the orders were shouted out: “Take out the J-cards”. Hands flickered over the dense crowd, waving the “Js”, but obviously every one of us had someone in the family without the certificate. Next to me my younger sisters were standing, no “J-cards” on them, somewhere further back in the crowd my mother was with my third sister and a 10-week-old newborn baby, orphaned by my mother's brother. And people like me were plenty! After an hour and many discussions held among themselves and the representatives of the Jewish Community, German soldiers formed a line and told the owners of the “Js” to move to the left side of the yard. So we moved on, under the hail of rubber clubs urging us on faster. And the others remained where they were, despair in their hearts. A few people made it through without the “J-card”. (…) My mother made it by a miracle as did my sister with the newborn baby, but my other two young, talented sisters left us for ever. (…) The Germans hit and beat anyone they came across, often firing in the air and cursing violently. [Hermann] Worthoff [responsible for the liquidation of the ghetto – J. Ch.] gave a speech afterwards about the end of the action. He said that the eliminated people will go back to the ghetto where they will work peacefully for the Germans. They told us to form lines of five and return to Majdan Tatarski. There were more than 3,000 people left in the yard: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives and children of those who made it back (…)”12.

The selected people were rushed to the concentration camp at Majdanek. The selection was repeated there and around 200-300 relatively healthy and strong men aged 18-45 were singled out to stay. The fear of separation from their families made many men remain with their wives and children who were led to death. For the next several days they were transported to the nearby Krępiecki Forest to be executed in previously prepared ditches by Lublin SiPo and SD officers. Approximately 2,700-2,800 people were murdered during this short period. Their bodies were buried in a mass grave by the Sonderkommando made up of Soviet war prisoners held in KL Lublin13. The information on the executions reached the residual ghetto fairly quickly, causing anxiety and fear among the Jews kept there. The news was passed on by the local farmers who would deliver documents and personal belongings of the murdered people through the barbed wire fence. It cannot be ruled out that some of the victims had been only wounded and after the execution a few might have managed to dig themselves out from under the bodies14. Thanks to Alten's interceding with the German authorities, several dozen people were released from the camp and moved again to the residual ghetto – among them the Judenrat office workers and craftsmen working for the Germans15.

Several days after the completion of the selections, the chair of the Judenrat, Alten, contacted the  Presidium of the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS) with the information that only about 4,000 Jews remain on the premises of the Majdan Tatarski residual ghetto. On the other hand, Wolf Wiener, responsible for accommodation on behalf of the Judenrat, informed the councilmen of merely 3,300 people residing there at the end of April. At the same time, the SS officers responsible for the action strictly prohibited the Judenrat to spread any information on the “details of the displacement and resettlement action”16. In May, laconic news of the creation of the residual ghetto also reached the Polish Undeground State through Bund: “(…) Approximately 3,000 Jews were placed in barracks in the district of Majdan Tatarski on the outskirts of Lublin (…)”17.
 



Living conditions in the ghetto


With the selections finished, the situation in the ghetto was stable for several months. Every now and then the calm was disrupted by single executions. Despite the fact that several thousand Jews had been killed, the district was still overpopulated. During the Judenrat session at the end of April, councilman Wolf Wiener described the situation in the following way:

“(…) From 3,300 people residing in the settlement, 1,800 were given flats and 1,500 remain homeless, spending the nights in various attics, shacks, stables and barns. Counted by the overall cubic capacity of the housing in the district, only 2m² are estimated per person while in the old ghetto, for example in Grodzka Street, the space estimate was 3m² or more per capita (…)”18.

Billet assigned quarters were a common practice, which often led to quarrels among tenants, subtenants, and the intervening Jewish police. Housing conditions were unstable and difficult to such a degree that both the Judenrat and German investors attempted to construct more barracks in the area with the use of the building material left after the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze. One of the barracks was inhabited by workmen employed in a company recycling rags, owned by a German named Victor Kremin19.

The Jews who inhabited the residual ghetto were obliged to do forced labour commissioned by German authorities and companies. They were also employed to clean the area of the district and maintain little gardens next to each of the houses. Avoiding work was subject to punishment, resettlement included.

For the whole period of the functioning of the ghetto its inhabitants had problems with obtaining many goods, which added to the deterioration of their living conditions. To improve the situation, the Judenrat embarked on the division of anything left by resettlers, which had to be acceded to by the German authorities. The property was stored in one of the yards on the premises of the ghetto and guarded by the Jewish police. In spite of supervision, many things were stolen – obviously in full awareness and communication with the policemen. The matter was serious to the degree that councilman Szulim Tajkef, supervising the action of property collection, issued a formal protest, informing the commander of the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP) about the malpractices20.

The official form of provisioning was handing out rations cards to the owners of the J-Ausweis. At the beginning of May 1942 3,857 such cards were issued which demonstrates the official number of Jews living in the residual ghetto. On the basis of surviving sources, the number of people inhabiting particular streets can also be determined: Gromadzka Street – 700, Majdan Tatarski Street – 902, Rolna Street – 1102 and Majdanek Street – 115321. Provisioning based on ration cards was not enough to meet even minimal nutritional needs, hence contraband began to thrive in the ghetto. Asking Poles to smuggle things into the ghetto through the barbed wire fence was common practice. Another major problem was the hindered access to drinking water as a result of a small number of wells located next to public toilets and thus creating the constant threat of an epidemic:

“Despite the spring season and significant rainfall in recent days, the level of water in wells on the premises falls down during the day. In the summer droughts there will possibly be no water left in the wells. Previously, the settlement housed not more than 1,000 people and now the  inhabitants are more than three times that number. Besides, the wells are often situated next to sewers or cloakrooms which makes them easily contaminated. Thus, a risk of an epidemic in the summer is envisaged”22.

The situation in the ghetto was frequently the cause of aggressive behaviour, an example of which is the fight which took place on the 20th of May. The person affected was Kałmen Trachtenberg who was beaten up by three drunken Jews. The incident was ended only when the Jewish police intervened. The officers often suffered themselves, as was the case with Szloma Cymerman who while on duty, accompanying Jewish women to their work place, was insulted and slapped across the face by Jadzia Darło. The matter was serious enough to provoke a reaction from the Judenrat chair, Marek Alten, who issued an appropriate memorandum. In the document, he acknowledged that such conduct disenables an efficient police service, which can be understood as an attempt at counteracting aggressive behaviour23.

 



Institutions operating in the ghetto


Resettlement to a new housing zone called for the re-enactment of the formerly existing institutions, the activities of which were interrupted by the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze. The institution which helped shape life in the residual ghetto was the Judenrat, consisting of 12 councilmen and chaired by Marek Alten. The public hospital was established anew, managed by Samuel Aronshon, as well as the epidemic hospital, directed by Symcha Binem Holcberg. Next to the hospitals the infirmary was also re-activated, providing on-going medical assistance. Despite the establishment of medical posts, the means of aiding the ill were disproportionate to their needs, which was the result of medicine shortages and the limited medical staff which consisted of fewer than 50 people24. From the moment of the ghetto's creation to the end of October 1942, little over 100 natural deaths were registered. On average, 1-10 fatalities were noted daily, with days  when no fatalities occurred25. Most probably a courtyard serving the function of a kindergarten was also prepared. The difficult situation in the ghetto made the Judenrat appoint a Consumer Cooperative to help improve provisioning for councilmen and office workers. The Commision for Mutual Social Aid of the Lublin Jewish Community Employees was also re-activated and transformed into a Delegacy. It did not extend its care to the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS) which was to be, albeit formally, independent from the Judenrat. An entirely new institution came into being, that of the Voluntary Fire Brigade, the manager of which was the vice-chair of the Judenrat, Izaak Kerszman, and the commander – councilmen Szulim Tajkef26.



The influx of refugees


The creation of the residual ghetto in Majdan Tatarski resulted in the influx of refugees from the provincial towns of the Lublin District liquidated during Operation Reinhard. The newly arriving Jews were of the innocent opinion that the new housing zone on the outskirts of Lublin would be a safe haven. By the end of July 1942, there were 4,383 Jews registered in the ghetto, 114 inhabited it illegally27. Migrants arrived also from the Warsaw ghetto and their numbers kept growing, particularly from the beginning of the so-called “big action”. Together with the fugitives, news from other Jewish communities reached the local ghetto, which Ida Glickstein recalls in her account:

“(…) There was peace in Majdan Tatarski in the summer of 1942, not one action was carried out. And the number of its inhabitants was growing day after day because people were arriving from the little towns of the Lublin province, thinking they'll be safe in our “Musterghetto”. When the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto commenced in July, those who previously escaped there from Lublin joined us together with native Warsaw citizens who had relatives or friends in Majdan Tatarski. Numerous liquidation actions were carried out in the ghettos of the nearby towns in August, that is why a certain amount of fugitives from the area found shelter with us, too. There were rumours of a new action however (…)”28.

Overpopulation of the ghetto and German awareness that there were Jews in it who did not own a J-Ausweis card forced the reaction of the Judenrat. By order of the German authorities, on the 16th of July new regulations were postered on the walls of the ghetto ordering all “illegally” remaining Jews to leave the area. Any Jews resisting this command were to be searched for by the Jewish police who were supervising the district day and night. At the same time, a ban was introduced on any forms of help given to the “clandestines”, the defiance of which could lead to the offender being likewise resettled. During an action carried out on the night of 27/28 July, police officers discovered 17 “illegal” Jews and continued to search for others on the following days29.



The second selection


Despite the apparent peace in the ghetto, many Jews lived in constant fear: remembering well the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze as well as the selection organised straight after the residual ghetto had been formed. At the same time, alarming news of displacement actions taking place in  other little towns were passed on to the local Jewish community by fugitives. The deepening sense of insecurity prompted the inhabitants of the ghetto to build various bunkers and hideouts.
On the 2nd of September 1942 the German security forces organised yet another selection. Jews were gathered in the yard between the ghetto and the Flugplatz work camp. The victims had to walk between SS officers and Ukrainian watchmen displaying their J-Ausweis cards. People without the document, as well as many women, children, the elderly and the handicapped were resettled. The informer Szama Grajer and the commandant of the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP), Mendel Goldfarb,  took an active part in the selection, choosing victims together with the German soldiers. As a consequence of the action, many families were separated. Ida Glickstein describes the atmosphere in the ghetto at this time:

“(…) The show lasted from daybreak to 2 pm. (…) Again, about 1,000 people were taken and the remaining returned to the ghetto. Once again people came back to empty houses, once again parents were torn away from their children, wives from husbands. On the way back I saw a young girl in front of a half-demolished hut, sobbing desperately and crying out: “How am I to enter this empty house now? How am I to face this horrible emptiness? They took everyone away from me, everyone!” (…) I looked around, as though resurrected. I saw tomatoes, red on their branches, sunflowers in bloom next to vegetable patches, gossamer floating in the air. I took it all in with a joyful eye and said to my husband: “Today I was a step from losing it all”. And I so wanted to live! Make it a month, a week, only to delay the moment of extinction. In the streets of Lublin women were ambling about in their new autumn hats, mothers were pushing prams with newborn babies, the young attended schools, life was lived (…) Only we were pushed outside the brackets, doomed to premature death, and what for? What for?”30.

As a result of the selection, approximately 1,000 Jews were relocated to the transition ghetto in Piaski and 3,000 people remained in Majdan Tatarski. Among them were workmen employed in Victor Kremin's company who, when the intervention was over, were released and allowed to return to the residual ghetto. There were cases of individual returns as well31.
 



The third selection


The inhabitants of the ghetto were shocked with the selection carried out on 22 October in the course of which some of the Judenrat office workers were taken together with the entire staff of the Arbeitsamt. Until now, the selections had not affected them. This is why people began to think that the ultimate liquidation of the ghetto was at hand. The mood in the district is well described by Efraim Krasucki:

“(…) Germans took all the office workers of the Jewish Arbeitsamt who were untouchable so far. It was a bad omen and we – the remaining ones – we felt our end to be approaching fast”32.

Some tried to look for shelter in the previously prepared hideouts. The selection was carried out in a very brutal way and resulted in approximately 1,000 Jews being taken away. It also coincided with the confiscation of valuables which took place in the yard separating the ghetto from the Flugplatz work camp. Victims were initially directed to the transition ghetto in Piaski and from there, on the very next day, rushed to Trawniki. During the march, SS officers carried out a secondary selection taking a part of the Jewish group to KL Lublin33.

Several days later, the German security forces executed a command ordering the final liquidation of the ghetto in Majdan Tatarski. On the 11th of November 1942 the Majdan Tatarski ghetto was officially terminated.

Compilation: Jakub Chmielewski
Consultation: dr hab. Dariusz Libionka
 
Translation: Monika Metlerska-Colerick


1 Archiwum Państwowe w Lublinie [dalej: APL], zesp. 22, Akta Miasta Lublina [dalej: AML], sygn. 390, Sprawy urządzenia getta w Lublinie, k. 21–26; T. Radzik, Lubelska dzielnica zamknięta, Lublin 1999, s. 47; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, [w:] Wiek XX wiekiem kryzysu? Kryzys człowieczeństwa, czyli ludobójstwa w minionym stuleciu, red. J. Gałuszka, Kraków 2014, s. 54.

2 Archiwum Państwowego Muzeum na Majdanku [dalej: APMM], Relacje nt. gett, więzień i obozów położonych na terenie okupowanej Polski, sygn. VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 36.

3 Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego [dalej: AŻIH], zesp. 211, Żydowska Samopomoc Społeczna [dalej: ŻSS], sygn. 143, Korespondencja Prezydium ŻSS z Markiem Altenem – Doradcą przy Szefie Dystryktu lubelskiego 1 IV 1942–9 XI 1942, k. 38.

4 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 256.

5 Tamże, sygn. 2, Różne zarządzenia, okólniki i zgłoszenia władz niemieckich i Rady, k. 61–62.

6 Tamże, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 256; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 56.

7 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 37.

8 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 253; tamże, sygn. 12, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń T. 3, k. 50-51; tamże, sygn. 13, Ogłoszenia dot. m. in. realizacji obowiązku pracy przymusowej, utworzenia getta w Lublinie, sprawie rozesłania sprawozdania z działalności Rady [1939–1940], pomocy prawnej itp., k. 345; tamże, sygn. 158, Spis osób zamieszkałych w getcie na Majdanie Tatarskim – data i miejsce urodzenia (1–4270), k. 1–144; tamże, sygn. 164, Skorowidz posiadanych J-Ausweisów, k. 1–166; J. Chmielewski, Zagłada żydowskiego miasta – likwidacja getta na Podzamczu, „Kwartalnik Historii Żydów” 2015, nr 4 (256), s. 726–727.

9 Yad Vashem Archives [dalej: YVA], zesp. O.3, Yad Vashen Testimonies [dalej: YVT], sygn. 1335, Relacja Anny Bach, k. 5; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 56–57.

10 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 291; tamże, sygn. 126, Wydział budowlany – układanie trwałej nawierzchni na ulicach getta – Majdan Tatarski, k. 1–3.

11 Formacja składała się z jeńców sowieckich, którzy w zamian za zwolnienie z niewoli podjęli kolaborację z Niemcami. Obóz szkoleniowy znajdował się w Trawnikach, niewielkiej miejscowości odległej od Lublina o około 30 kilometrów, który powstał jesienią 1941 r. z inicjatywy Dowódcy SS i Policji w dystrykcie lubelskim Odilo Globocnika. Oficjalna nazwa formacji początkowa brzmiała Oddziały Wartownicze Pełnomocnika Reichsführera SS i Szefa Policji Niemieckiej ds. Utworzenia Baz SS i Policji na Nowych Terenach Wschodnich, która została zmieniona w marcu 1942 r. na Oddziały Wartownicze Dowódcy SS i Policji na Dystrykt Lubelski. Powszechnie służące w niej osoby nazywano askarami, czarnymi, hiwis, ludźmi z Trawnik czy po prostu Ukraińcami, na co wpływ miał znaczny odsetek osób pochodzenia ukraińskiego. P. Black, Prosty żołnierz „akcji Reinhardt”. Oddziały z Trawnik i eksterminacja polskich Żydów, [w:] Akcja Reinhardt. Zagłada Żydów w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie, red. D. Libionka, Warszawa 2004, s. 103–131.

12 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 40–42.

13 A. Żmijewska-Wiśniewska, Zeznania szefa krematorium Ericha Muhsfeldta na temat byłego obozu koncentracyjnego w Lublinie (Majdanek), „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XX, s. 24; R. Kuwałek, Zbrodnie w lesie krępieckim w świetle zeznań świadków, „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XXI, s. 278–279, 285–286; R. Kuwałek, Żydzi lubelscy w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XXII, s. 88–94; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 58–59.

14 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 43; AŻIH, zesp. 301, Relacje. Zeznania ocalałych Żydów, sygn. 1290, Relacja Henryka Goldwaga, k. 16; R. Kuwałek, Zbrodnie w lesie krępieckim, s. 290; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 59.

15 YVA, YVT, O.3/1396, Relacja Anny Bach, k. 4; R. Kuwałek, Żydzi lubelscy, s. 91–92; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 58–59.

16 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 258, 261; AŻIH, ŻSS, 211/143, Korespondencja Prezydium ŻSS z Markiem Altenem – Doradcą przy Szefie Dystryktu lubelskiego 1 IV 1942–9 XI 1942, k. 46.

17 Dokument nosi tytuł: „List Bundu w spr. prześladowań Żydów”. Archiwum Akt Nowych [dalej: AAN], zesp. 1325, Delegatura Rządu RP na Kraj 1940–1945, sygn. 202/XV-2, Rada Pomocy Żydom 1942–1944, k. 29–30.

18 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 260.

19 Tamże, sygn. 4, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie [drugie i dalsze egzemplarze, odpisy], k. 297, 305, 318; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 60.

20 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 258; tamże, sygn. 182, Meldunki o zajściach, sprawozdania z działalności, wykazy opornych płatników podatku gminnego, k. 122; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

21 APL, RŻL, sygn. 157, Stan ilościowy Żydów zamieszkałych w getcie Majdan Tatarski, wykaz domów, k. 3; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

22 APL, RŻL, sygn. 22, Korespondencja różnych osób z Prezydium Rady w sprawach pracy, warunków sanitarnych w obozie przy ul. Lipowej 7, należności finansowych i in., k. 185.

23 Tamże, sygn. 182, Meldunki o zajściach, sprawozdania z działalności, wykazy opornych płatników podatku gminnego, k. 130-131, 137; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 62;

24 Tamże, sygn. 129, Statut szpitala, wykazy personalne szpitala ogólnego i epidemicznego, należności za leczenie, k. 246–249.

25 Tamże, sygn. 172, Sprawozdanie Wydziału Stanu Cywilnego z 1940 r., wykazy zmarłych, karty zgonów, ruch ludności żydowskiej w latach 1842–1942 i in., k. 42–46, 81–85; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 72–75.

26 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 260, 294, 304–305; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

27 APL, RŻL, sygn. 159, J-Ausweis – podania i wykazy, k. 161.

28 YVA, YVT, O.3/3060, Relacja Idy Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 11.

29 APL, RŻL, sygn. 2, Różne zarządzenia, okólniki i zgłoszenia władz niemieckich i Rady, k 71; tamże, sygn. 13, Ogłoszenia dot. m.in. realizacji obowiązku pracy przymusowej, utworzenia getta w Lublinie, sprawie rozesłania sprawozdania z działalności Rady [1939–1940], pomocy prawnej itp., k. 354; tamże, sygn. 159, J-Ausweis – podania i wykazy, k. 164; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 64.

30 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 56–57.

31 J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 66–67.

32 YVA, YVT, O.3/1335, Relacja Efraima Krasuckiego, k. 7.

33 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 312. W relacjach pojawia się błędnie 24 i 25 października jako daty selekcji. YVA, YVT, O.3/2025, Relacja Cipory Fischer, k. 9; AŻIH, 301/1478, Relacja Leopolda Linda, k. 18; AŻIH, 301/1815, Relacja Ety Bryfman, k. 9; APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 62; YVA, YVT, O.3/1335, Relacja Efraima Krasuckiego, k. 7; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 67–68.

The Ghetto in Majdan Tatarski

tagi:

The Lublin residual ghetto was established in the second half of April 1942 in the working-class district of Majdan Tatarski situated on the south-eastern outskirts of the city. Several thousand Jews, who thanks to their “privileged” status survived the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze, were transferred to this relatively small area. The new Jewish housing zone was called the “Musterghetto” (“master ghetto”) by the German authorities. However, overpopulation and living conditions here were dramatic. The annihilation of the district was carried out in stages, marked by successive selections. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place at the beginning of November 1942 when 200 people were murdered on its premises and those who remained alive were sent to the camp at Majdanek (KL Lublin).

Table of contents:
1. The forming of the ghetto
2. Resettlement
3. Streets included in the ghetto
4. The first selection
5. Living conditions in the ghetto
6. Institutions operating in the ghetto
7. The influx of refugees
8. The second selection
9. The third selection

The forming of the ghetto

The creation of the ghetto was preceded by the resettlement of Polish residents from the area to other parts of Lublin, which took place between the 14th and the 15th of April. Initially, Polish inhabitants were transferred to three temples which functioned as temporary shelters: St Bernard's and the Dominican and Carmelite churches. Having been allocated, they moved into particular flats, including those situated in tenement houses recently marking the western boundary of the ghetto in Podzamcze, as well as in Lubartowska, Targowa (including Targowy Square) and Ruska Street1. Jews who had to move into the residual ghetto often found only ruined buildings. Ida Glickstein recalls it in the following way:

“(...) There was a tiny settlement by the road from Lublin to Piaski – Majdan Tatarski. It was right next to the “Plage Laśkiewicz” aircraft factory. The village was divided in two by the Germans: the bit closer to the city was left intact and the more distant part was fenced off with double barbed wire and intended as a ghetto, for us. Majdan was inhabited by workmen from the aircraft manufacturer, as well as other neighbouring factories and tanneries. People who have lived in it for many years built their little houses here, set up gardens and kept livestock. And now they were ordered to leave their homes and move to abandoned Jewish flats in Lubartowska and other streets of the ghetto. They cried, despaired, destroying their houses in anger, uprooting young trees, planted with their own hands, but to no avail (…)”2.

Rumours of the imminent resettlement were reaching the Judenrat before the end of the liquidation action in Podzamcze, which is evident from the short written record of a telephone conversation held on April the 12th by its head, Marek Alten, and the representative of the Presidium of the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS). It is from him that Alten received information on German plans concerning the ghetto, without any details mentioned, however3. The rumours were confirmed on the 14th of April when one of the Security Police (SiPo) and Security Service (SD) officers responsible for the liquidation in Podzamcze, SS-Untersturmführer Harry Sturm, informed the Judenrat about the planned resettlement to the residual ghetto in the suburban district of Majdan Tatarski. For the smooth operation of the resettlement, 200 carts were to be used4. Information given by the SS officer was officially confirmed two days later in a decree issued by the Lublin District Governor, Ernst Zörner, on the strength of which only Jews in possession of the J-Ausweis were allowed to reside in the ghetto:

“(…) In the established housing zone, the only Jews allowed are those who received yellow identity cards with a black “J” in a Jewish star printed on them, issued by the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst Headquarters for the Lublin District. The Jewish housing zone can only be entered and exited through a designated gate. (…) Jews taking unauthorised leave of the assigned housing area will be (…) punished with death. People knowingly hiding Jews will be penalised in the same manner (…)”5.
 


Resettlement

The resettlement action started on 17 April, the day when the Judenrat councilmen and clerks, the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP) police officers, members of the disinfection units, as well as craftsmen employed by German authorities and companies were ordered to move to the area of the residual ghetto. During the following two days, the resettlement was extended to include all the other Jewish citizens6. The moment of resettlement is vividly described by Ida Glickstein:

“(...) It was on Friday, the 17th of April 1942. One of the first days of spring, the sun was shining bright and the warm spring breeze had the smell of soil liberated from the shackles of winter. A yearning was born in the heart, the same that fills human souls with the thirst for happiness and life every year. Already at dawn the first carts set off with our belongings stacked in piles on top of them. And then they formed a long line dragging along Nowa, Królewska, Zamojska and turning into Fabryczna Street behind the bridge until they arrived at the gate of the ghetto surrounded with double barbed wire. Germans assured our representatives that it was to be a “Musterghetto”, that Jews from the whole of Poland would envy us (…)”7.

Approximately 8,000 Jews were relocated into the area of the ghetto, 4,000 of whom were “clandestine”, that is not in possession if the J-Ausweis. The new identity card was introduced  between March and April and replaced the hitherto existing stamp in the work permit given by the SiPo and SD less than a month earlier. Only Jews deemed “indispensable” by the German authorities were provided with the document which resulted in the separation of many families. In all, little more that 4,000 J-Ausweis cards were granted along with the same amount of ration books8. It can be assumed that there were many relatives of the J-Ausweis owners among the “clandestines”. Directly after the resettlement was completed, the SiPo and SD officers ordered a population census which was performed by the Judenrat on the night between the 19th and the 20th of April. On its basis, the area of the ghetto was estimated to be occupied by at least several thousand unauthorised Jews. The official reason for the census was to determine the housing needs for the overpopulated district. In reality, however, it served as an introduction to selections which were to take place several hours later. This event is recalled by Anna Bach:

“(...) The first night of our stay in Majdan Tatarski started with a census. It was ordered by the German authorities and carried out by the Jewish community workers. The census revealed unimaginable lack of space and disorder in the settlement. The Nazis came to the conclusion that radical means had to be taken to decrease the number of inhabitants in order to match the intended norm of four thousand people (…)”9.

The census constituted the last stage of the resettlement to the residual ghetto and simultaneously opened a new chapter in the life of the Jewish community in Lublin which started with selections. Despite efforts to limit the number of “clandestines”, with time other refugees – from the Warsaw ghetto or the provincial towns of the Lublin District began to flock to the residual ghetto.
 


Streets included in the ghetto

The residual ghetto was located in the suburban district, Majdan Tatarski, whose western boundary was delimited by Gromadzka Street, the northern by Majdanek Street, and the southern by Majdan Tatarski Street. On its western side, the ghetto bordered with a neighbourhood still inhabited by ethnic Poles. The eastern boundary of the ghetto consisted only of fields.

Rolna Street, which crossed directly through the middle of the district, for practical reasons became the main street of the ghetto. Craftsmen, the Judenrat councilmen and clerks, doctors and the personnel of hospitals and other Jewish institutions were obliged to inhabit houses lining this road. The entry gate was situated most probably on the crossing between Gromadzka and Majdan Tatarski Streets. As a result of heavy rainfall seriously deteriorating the situation in the ghetto, the Judenrat began to pave its roads, something which is clearly evident from the minutes of one of the council meetings:     

“(…) having completed the section of the road in Rolna Street, the paving of the surface in Majdan Tatarski Street is to be immediately started on the section stretching from the entry gate to the yard behind Grajer's restaurant and afterwards from the yard to Rolna”10.


The first selection

The officers from the stationary headquarters of SiPo and SD were very well aware that the area of the ghetto held several thousand “clandestine” Jews which caused problems with overpopulation and lodgings. Selections were deemed the only proper remedy for the situation. The first of these, as with all the future ones, was supervised by SS-Obersturmführer Hermann Worthoff, SS-Untersturmführer Wilhelm Walter, SS-Untersturmführer Harry Sturm, SS-Untersturmführer Knitzky and Ernst Kalich. Auxiliary units of guards from Trawniki were additionally sent to help in Majdan Tatarski 11. The first selection started at dawn on the 20th of April in the yard dividing the area of the ghetto from the Flugplatz work camp and was carried out in a very brutal way – many people were beaten up or shot straight away. The group selected that day consisted of 3,000 women, children and the elderly. Young and middle-aged people were chosen, too. Ida Glickstein was there as well and this is how she describes the course of the selection:   

“(...) The sunrise on Monday came with yet another horrifying surprise. The ghetto was surrounded with a double line of Germans and Ukrainians and we were all ordered out into the spacious yard stretching between the plane factory and the barbed wire fence. (…) The order was given at daybreak when everyone was still asleep. People started throwing clothes on in all haste, some preparing backpacks and a little bit of food, others remembering only the “ausweis” cards. Germans walked from house to house, rushing people: “Schneller, los, los!”. Many were taken out into the yard in their underwear only and as a punishment for not managing to get dressed on time were destined for resettlement immediately. (…) After a dozen or so minutes the orders were shouted out: “Take out the J-cards”. Hands flickered over the dense crowd, waving the “Js”, but obviously every one of us had someone in the family without the certificate. Next to me my younger sisters were standing, no “J-cards” on them, somewhere further back in the crowd my mother was with my third sister and a 10-week-old newborn baby, orphaned by my mother's brother. And people like me were plenty! After an hour and many discussions held among themselves and the representatives of the Jewish Community, German soldiers formed a line and told the owners of the “Js” to move to the left side of the yard. So we moved on, under the hail of rubber clubs urging us on faster. And the others remained where they were, despair in their hearts. A few people made it through without the “J-card”. (…) My mother made it by a miracle as did my sister with the newborn baby, but my other two young, talented sisters left us for ever. (…) The Germans hit and beat anyone they came across, often firing in the air and cursing violently. [Hermann] Worthoff [responsible for the liquidation of the ghetto – J. Ch.] gave a speech afterwards about the end of the action. He said that the eliminated people will go back to the ghetto where they will work peacefully for the Germans. They told us to form lines of five and return to Majdan Tatarski. There were more than 3,000 people left in the yard: mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives and children of those who made it back (…)”12.

The selected people were rushed to the concentration camp at Majdanek. The selection was repeated there and around 200-300 relatively healthy and strong men aged 18-45 were singled out to stay. The fear of separation from their families made many men remain with their wives and children who were led to death. For the next several days they were transported to the nearby Krępiecki Forest to be executed in previously prepared ditches by Lublin SiPo and SD officers. Approximately 2,700-2,800 people were murdered during this short period. Their bodies were buried in a mass grave by the Sonderkommando made up of Soviet war prisoners held in KL Lublin13. The information on the executions reached the residual ghetto fairly quickly, causing anxiety and fear among the Jews kept there. The news was passed on by the local farmers who would deliver documents and personal belongings of the murdered people through the barbed wire fence. It cannot be ruled out that some of the victims had been only wounded and after the execution a few might have managed to dig themselves out from under the bodies14. Thanks to Alten's interceding with the German authorities, several dozen people were released from the camp and moved again to the residual ghetto – among them the Judenrat office workers and craftsmen working for the Germans15.

Several days after the completion of the selections, the chair of the Judenrat, Alten, contacted the  Presidium of the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS) with the information that only about 4,000 Jews remain on the premises of the Majdan Tatarski residual ghetto. On the other hand, Wolf Wiener, responsible for accommodation on behalf of the Judenrat, informed the councilmen of merely 3,300 people residing there at the end of April. At the same time, the SS officers responsible for the action strictly prohibited the Judenrat to spread any information on the “details of the displacement and resettlement action”16. In May, laconic news of the creation of the residual ghetto also reached the Polish Undeground State through Bund: “(…) Approximately 3,000 Jews were placed in barracks in the district of Majdan Tatarski on the outskirts of Lublin (…)”17.
 


Living conditions in the ghetto

With the selections finished, the situation in the ghetto was stable for several months. Every now and then the calm was disrupted by single executions. Despite the fact that several thousand Jews had been killed, the district was still overpopulated. During the Judenrat session at the end of April, councilman Wolf Wiener described the situation in the following way:

“(…) From 3,300 people residing in the settlement, 1,800 were given flats and 1,500 remain homeless, spending the nights in various attics, shacks, stables and barns. Counted by the overall cubic capacity of the housing in the district, only 2m² are estimated per person while in the old ghetto, for example in Grodzka Street, the space estimate was 3m² or more per capita (…)”18.

Billet assigned quarters were a common practice, which often led to quarrels among tenants, subtenants, and the intervening Jewish police. Housing conditions were unstable and difficult to such a degree that both the Judenrat and German investors attempted to construct more barracks in the area with the use of the building material left after the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze. One of the barracks was inhabited by workmen employed in a company recycling rags, owned by a German named Victor Kremin19.

The Jews who inhabited the residual ghetto were obliged to do forced labour commissioned by German authorities and companies. They were also employed to clean the area of the district and maintain little gardens next to each of the houses. Avoiding work was subject to punishment, resettlement included.

For the whole period of the functioning of the ghetto its inhabitants had problems with obtaining many goods, which added to the deterioration of their living conditions. To improve the situation, the Judenrat embarked on the division of anything left by resettlers, which had to be acceded to by the German authorities. The property was stored in one of the yards on the premises of the ghetto and guarded by the Jewish police. In spite of supervision, many things were stolen – obviously in full awareness and communication with the policemen. The matter was serious to the degree that councilman Szulim Tajkef, supervising the action of property collection, issued a formal protest, informing the commander of the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP) about the malpractices20.

The official form of provisioning was handing out rations cards to the owners of the J-Ausweis. At the beginning of May 1942 3,857 such cards were issued which demonstrates the official number of Jews living in the residual ghetto. On the basis of surviving sources, the number of people inhabiting particular streets can also be determined: Gromadzka Street – 700, Majdan Tatarski Street – 902, Rolna Street – 1102 and Majdanek Street – 115321. Provisioning based on ration cards was not enough to meet even minimal nutritional needs, hence contraband began to thrive in the ghetto. Asking Poles to smuggle things into the ghetto through the barbed wire fence was common practice. Another major problem was the hindered access to drinking water as a result of a small number of wells located next to public toilets and thus creating the constant threat of an epidemic:

“Despite the spring season and significant rainfall in recent days, the level of water in wells on the premises falls down during the day. In the summer droughts there will possibly be no water left in the wells. Previously, the settlement housed not more than 1,000 people and now the  inhabitants are more than three times that number. Besides, the wells are often situated next to sewers or cloakrooms which makes them easily contaminated. Thus, a risk of an epidemic in the summer is envisaged”22.

The situation in the ghetto was frequently the cause of aggressive behaviour, an example of which is the fight which took place on the 20th of May. The person affected was Kałmen Trachtenberg who was beaten up by three drunken Jews. The incident was ended only when the Jewish police intervened. The officers often suffered themselves, as was the case with Szloma Cymerman who while on duty, accompanying Jewish women to their work place, was insulted and slapped across the face by Jadzia Darło. The matter was serious enough to provoke a reaction from the Judenrat chair, Marek Alten, who issued an appropriate memorandum. In the document, he acknowledged that such conduct disenables an efficient police service, which can be understood as an attempt at counteracting aggressive behaviour23.

 


Institutions operating in the ghetto

Resettlement to a new housing zone called for the re-enactment of the formerly existing institutions, the activities of which were interrupted by the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze. The institution which helped shape life in the residual ghetto was the Judenrat, consisting of 12 councilmen and chaired by Marek Alten. The public hospital was established anew, managed by Samuel Aronshon, as well as the epidemic hospital, directed by Symcha Binem Holcberg. Next to the hospitals the infirmary was also re-activated, providing on-going medical assistance. Despite the establishment of medical posts, the means of aiding the ill were disproportionate to their needs, which was the result of medicine shortages and the limited medical staff which consisted of fewer than 50 people24. From the moment of the ghetto's creation to the end of October 1942, little over 100 natural deaths were registered. On average, 1-10 fatalities were noted daily, with days  when no fatalities occurred25. Most probably a courtyard serving the function of a kindergarten was also prepared. The difficult situation in the ghetto made the Judenrat appoint a Consumer Cooperative to help improve provisioning for councilmen and office workers. The Commision for Mutual Social Aid of the Lublin Jewish Community Employees was also re-activated and transformed into a Delegacy. It did not extend its care to the Jewish Mutual Social Aid Society (ŻSS) which was to be, albeit formally, independent from the Judenrat. An entirely new institution came into being, that of the Voluntary Fire Brigade, the manager of which was the vice-chair of the Judenrat, Izaak Kerszman, and the commander – councilmen Szulim Tajkef26.


The influx of refugees

The creation of the residual ghetto in Majdan Tatarski resulted in the influx of refugees from the provincial towns of the Lublin District liquidated during Operation Reinhard. The newly arriving Jews were of the innocent opinion that the new housing zone on the outskirts of Lublin would be a safe haven. By the end of July 1942, there were 4,383 Jews registered in the ghetto, 114 inhabited it illegally27. Migrants arrived also from the Warsaw ghetto and their numbers kept growing, particularly from the beginning of the so-called “big action”. Together with the fugitives, news from other Jewish communities reached the local ghetto, which Ida Glickstein recalls in her account:

“(…) There was peace in Majdan Tatarski in the summer of 1942, not one action was carried out. And the number of its inhabitants was growing day after day because people were arriving from the little towns of the Lublin province, thinking they'll be safe in our “Musterghetto”. When the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto commenced in July, those who previously escaped there from Lublin joined us together with native Warsaw citizens who had relatives or friends in Majdan Tatarski. Numerous liquidation actions were carried out in the ghettos of the nearby towns in August, that is why a certain amount of fugitives from the area found shelter with us, too. There were rumours of a new action however (…)”28.

Overpopulation of the ghetto and German awareness that there were Jews in it who did not own a J-Ausweis card forced the reaction of the Judenrat. By order of the German authorities, on the 16th of July new regulations were postered on the walls of the ghetto ordering all “illegally” remaining Jews to leave the area. Any Jews resisting this command were to be searched for by the Jewish police who were supervising the district day and night. At the same time, a ban was introduced on any forms of help given to the “clandestines”, the defiance of which could lead to the offender being likewise resettled. During an action carried out on the night of 27/28 July, police officers discovered 17 “illegal” Jews and continued to search for others on the following days29.


The second selection

Despite the apparent peace in the ghetto, many Jews lived in constant fear: remembering well the liquidation of the ghetto in Podzamcze as well as the selection organised straight after the residual ghetto had been formed. At the same time, alarming news of displacement actions taking place in  other little towns were passed on to the local Jewish community by fugitives. The deepening sense of insecurity prompted the inhabitants of the ghetto to build various bunkers and hideouts.
On the 2nd of September 1942 the German security forces organised yet another selection. Jews were gathered in the yard between the ghetto and the Flugplatz work camp. The victims had to walk between SS officers and Ukrainian watchmen displaying their J-Ausweis cards. People without the document, as well as many women, children, the elderly and the handicapped were resettled. The informer Szama Grajer and the commandant of the Jewish Order Service (ŻSP), Mendel Goldfarb,  took an active part in the selection, choosing victims together with the German soldiers. As a consequence of the action, many families were separated. Ida Glickstein describes the atmosphere in the ghetto at this time:

“(…) The show lasted from daybreak to 2 pm. (…) Again, about 1,000 people were taken and the remaining returned to the ghetto. Once again people came back to empty houses, once again parents were torn away from their children, wives from husbands. On the way back I saw a young girl in front of a half-demolished hut, sobbing desperately and crying out: “How am I to enter this empty house now? How am I to face this horrible emptiness? They took everyone away from me, everyone!” (…) I looked around, as though resurrected. I saw tomatoes, red on their branches, sunflowers in bloom next to vegetable patches, gossamer floating in the air. I took it all in with a joyful eye and said to my husband: “Today I was a step from losing it all”. And I so wanted to live! Make it a month, a week, only to delay the moment of extinction. In the streets of Lublin women were ambling about in their new autumn hats, mothers were pushing prams with newborn babies, the young attended schools, life was lived (…) Only we were pushed outside the brackets, doomed to premature death, and what for? What for?”30.

As a result of the selection, approximately 1,000 Jews were relocated to the transition ghetto in Piaski and 3,000 people remained in Majdan Tatarski. Among them were workmen employed in Victor Kremin's company who, when the intervention was over, were released and allowed to return to the residual ghetto. There were cases of individual returns as well31.
 


The third selection

The inhabitants of the ghetto were shocked with the selection carried out on 22 October in the course of which some of the Judenrat office workers were taken together with the entire staff of the Arbeitsamt. Until now, the selections had not affected them. This is why people began to think that the ultimate liquidation of the ghetto was at hand. The mood in the district is well described by Efraim Krasucki:

“(…) Germans took all the office workers of the Jewish Arbeitsamt who were untouchable so far. It was a bad omen and we – the remaining ones – we felt our end to be approaching fast”32.

Some tried to look for shelter in the previously prepared hideouts. The selection was carried out in a very brutal way and resulted in approximately 1,000 Jews being taken away. It also coincided with the confiscation of valuables which took place in the yard separating the ghetto from the Flugplatz work camp. Victims were initially directed to the transition ghetto in Piaski and from there, on the very next day, rushed to Trawniki. During the march, SS officers carried out a secondary selection taking a part of the Jewish group to KL Lublin33.

Several days later, the German security forces executed a command ordering the final liquidation of the ghetto in Majdan Tatarski. On the 11th of November 1942 the Majdan Tatarski ghetto was officially terminated.

Compilation: Jakub Chmielewski
Consultation: dr hab. Dariusz Libionka
 
Translation: Monika Metlerska-Colerick



1 Archiwum Państwowe w Lublinie [dalej: APL], zesp. 22, Akta Miasta Lublina [dalej: AML], sygn. 390, Sprawy urządzenia getta w Lublinie, k. 21–26; T. Radzik, Lubelska dzielnica zamknięta, Lublin 1999, s. 47; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, [w:] Wiek XX wiekiem kryzysu? Kryzys człowieczeństwa, czyli ludobójstwa w minionym stuleciu, red. J. Gałuszka, Kraków 2014, s. 54.

2 Archiwum Państwowego Muzeum na Majdanku [dalej: APMM], Relacje nt. gett, więzień i obozów położonych na terenie okupowanej Polski, sygn. VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 36.

3 Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego [dalej: AŻIH], zesp. 211, Żydowska Samopomoc Społeczna [dalej: ŻSS], sygn. 143, Korespondencja Prezydium ŻSS z Markiem Altenem – Doradcą przy Szefie Dystryktu lubelskiego 1 IV 1942–9 XI 1942, k. 38.

4 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 256.

5 Tamże, sygn. 2, Różne zarządzenia, okólniki i zgłoszenia władz niemieckich i Rady, k. 61–62.

6 Tamże, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 256; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 56.

7 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 37.

8 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 253; tamże, sygn. 12, Zbiór wydanych ogłoszeń T. 3, k. 50-51; tamże, sygn. 13, Ogłoszenia dot. m. in. realizacji obowiązku pracy przymusowej, utworzenia getta w Lublinie, sprawie rozesłania sprawozdania z działalności Rady [1939–1940], pomocy prawnej itp., k. 345; tamże, sygn. 158, Spis osób zamieszkałych w getcie na Majdanie Tatarskim – data i miejsce urodzenia (1–4270), k. 1–144; tamże, sygn. 164, Skorowidz posiadanych J-Ausweisów, k. 1–166; J. Chmielewski, Zagłada żydowskiego miasta – likwidacja getta na Podzamczu, „Kwartalnik Historii Żydów” 2015, nr 4 (256), s. 726–727.

9 Yad Vashem Archives [dalej: YVA], zesp. O.3, Yad Vashen Testimonies [dalej: YVT], sygn. 1335, Relacja Anny Bach, k. 5; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 56–57.

10 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 291; tamże, sygn. 126, Wydział budowlany – układanie trwałej nawierzchni na ulicach getta – Majdan Tatarski, k. 1–3.

11 Formacja składała się z jeńców sowieckich, którzy w zamian za zwolnienie z niewoli podjęli kolaborację z Niemcami. Obóz szkoleniowy znajdował się w Trawnikach, niewielkiej miejscowości odległej od Lublina o około 30 kilometrów, który powstał jesienią 1941 r. z inicjatywy Dowódcy SS i Policji w dystrykcie lubelskim Odilo Globocnika. Oficjalna nazwa formacji początkowa brzmiała Oddziały Wartownicze Pełnomocnika Reichsführera SS i Szefa Policji Niemieckiej ds. Utworzenia Baz SS i Policji na Nowych Terenach Wschodnich, która została zmieniona w marcu 1942 r. na Oddziały Wartownicze Dowódcy SS i Policji na Dystrykt Lubelski. Powszechnie służące w niej osoby nazywano askarami, czarnymi, hiwis, ludźmi z Trawnik czy po prostu Ukraińcami, na co wpływ miał znaczny odsetek osób pochodzenia ukraińskiego. P. Black, Prosty żołnierz „akcji Reinhardt”. Oddziały z Trawnik i eksterminacja polskich Żydów, [w:] Akcja Reinhardt. Zagłada Żydów w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie, red. D. Libionka, Warszawa 2004, s. 103–131.

12 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 40–42.

13 A. Żmijewska-Wiśniewska, Zeznania szefa krematorium Ericha Muhsfeldta na temat byłego obozu koncentracyjnego w Lublinie (Majdanek), „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XX, s. 24; R. Kuwałek, Zbrodnie w lesie krępieckim w świetle zeznań świadków, „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XXI, s. 278–279, 285–286; R. Kuwałek, Żydzi lubelscy w obozie koncentracyjnym na Majdanku, „Zeszyty Majdanka”, t. XXII, s. 88–94; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 58–59.

14 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 43; AŻIH, zesp. 301, Relacje. Zeznania ocalałych Żydów, sygn. 1290, Relacja Henryka Goldwaga, k. 16; R. Kuwałek, Zbrodnie w lesie krępieckim, s. 290; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 59.

15 YVA, YVT, O.3/1396, Relacja Anny Bach, k. 4; R. Kuwałek, Żydzi lubelscy, s. 91–92; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 58–59.

16 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 258, 261; AŻIH, ŻSS, 211/143, Korespondencja Prezydium ŻSS z Markiem Altenem – Doradcą przy Szefie Dystryktu lubelskiego 1 IV 1942–9 XI 1942, k. 46.

17 Dokument nosi tytuł: „List Bundu w spr. prześladowań Żydów”. Archiwum Akt Nowych [dalej: AAN], zesp. 1325, Delegatura Rządu RP na Kraj 1940–1945, sygn. 202/XV-2, Rada Pomocy Żydom 1942–1944, k. 29–30.

18 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 260.

19 Tamże, sygn. 4, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie [drugie i dalsze egzemplarze, odpisy], k. 297, 305, 318; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 60.

20 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 258; tamże, sygn. 182, Meldunki o zajściach, sprawozdania z działalności, wykazy opornych płatników podatku gminnego, k. 122; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

21 APL, RŻL, sygn. 157, Stan ilościowy Żydów zamieszkałych w getcie Majdan Tatarski, wykaz domów, k. 3; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

22 APL, RŻL, sygn. 22, Korespondencja różnych osób z Prezydium Rady w sprawach pracy, warunków sanitarnych w obozie przy ul. Lipowej 7, należności finansowych i in., k. 185.

23 Tamże, sygn. 182, Meldunki o zajściach, sprawozdania z działalności, wykazy opornych płatników podatku gminnego, k. 130-131, 137; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 62;

24 Tamże, sygn. 129, Statut szpitala, wykazy personalne szpitala ogólnego i epidemicznego, należności za leczenie, k. 246–249.

25 Tamże, sygn. 172, Sprawozdanie Wydziału Stanu Cywilnego z 1940 r., wykazy zmarłych, karty zgonów, ruch ludności żydowskiej w latach 1842–1942 i in., k. 42–46, 81–85; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 72–75.

26 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 260, 294, 304–305; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 61.

27 APL, RŻL, sygn. 159, J-Ausweis – podania i wykazy, k. 161.

28 YVA, YVT, O.3/3060, Relacja Idy Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 11.

29 APL, RŻL, sygn. 2, Różne zarządzenia, okólniki i zgłoszenia władz niemieckich i Rady, k 71; tamże, sygn. 13, Ogłoszenia dot. m.in. realizacji obowiązku pracy przymusowej, utworzenia getta w Lublinie, sprawie rozesłania sprawozdania z działalności Rady [1939–1940], pomocy prawnej itp., k. 354; tamże, sygn. 159, J-Ausweis – podania i wykazy, k. 164; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 64.

30 APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport, k. 56–57.

31 J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 66–67.

32 YVA, YVT, O.3/1335, Relacja Efraima Krasuckiego, k. 7.

33 APL, RŻL, sygn. 3, Protokoły plenarnych posiedzeń Rady Żydowskiej w Lublinie od 1 stycznia 1940 r. do 1 listopada 1942 r., k. 312. W relacjach pojawia się błędnie 24 i 25 października jako daty selekcji. YVA, YVT, O.3/2025, Relacja Cipory Fischer, k. 9; AŻIH, 301/1478, Relacja Leopolda Linda, k. 18; AŻIH, 301/1815, Relacja Ety Bryfman, k. 9; APMM, VII/O-20, Relacja Idy Gliksztajn-Rapaport-Jarkoni, k. 62; YVA, YVT, O.3/1335, Relacja Efraima Krasuckiego, k. 7; J. Chmielewski, Likwidacja getta szczątkowego w Lublinie, s. 67–68.