The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre is a local government cultural institution based in Lublin. It works towards the preservation of cultural heritage and education. Its function is tied to the symbolic and historical meaning of the Centre’s location in the Grodzka Gate, which used to divide Lublin into its respective Christian and Jewish quarters, as well as to Lublin as a meeting place of cultures, traditions and religions.

Part of the Centre are the House of Words and the Lublin Underground Trail.

The Umschlagplatz of Lublin

The Umschlagplatz of Lublin

The Lublin Umschlagplatz (formerly also known as the Lublin Death Square) is a name given to the site from which human transports with Lublin Jews were sent by the German Security Police to the death camp in Bełżec in March and April 1942.

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Adina Cimet – English

Adina Cimet – English

(born in Mexico City in 1951) - a sociologist, coopereted with YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. Adina Cimet was born in Mexico City in a family with Polish roots. Her father Ruben Cimet (1923-2008), a well-known sculptor, architect, and professor of architecture in UNAM , was born in Hrubieszów; her mother Shoshana Ralsky Tartak (born in Kaunas, Lithuania) is a survivor of the Holocaust, and was liberated in Bergen Belsen; she is professor of sociology at the National University of Mexico, and author of books on the Mexican political system. 
 

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Ghetto in Podzamcze – the displacement action


On the 16th of March 1942 the German security forces commenced with the liquidation of the ghetto in the Podzamcze District of Lublin, simultaneously undertaking a programme of genocide which, in the months to come, was designed to embrace the entire General Government (GG) and was aimed at nothing less than the biological extermination of the Jewish population, coupled with the plunder of Jewish property. It was part of “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question” formulated by the Third Reich. Initially, the targets of the exterminations were mainly Polish Jews. Soon, however, it was extended to encompass Jews coming from the Reich itself, along with German-occupied countries of Western and Southern Europe as well as satellite nations (for example Slovakia). Most transports consisted of freight cars loaded with victims destined for the gas chambers of death camps, with only a few directed to transitional ghettos, which were an intermediary stage in the process of extermination. In order to disguise the atrocity, death camps were located in sparsely populated peripheral regions of the General Government, in the vicinity of small towns – Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka. In June 1942, the operation was given the cryptonym “Reinhardt”, in homage to one of the principal designers of “the Final Solution to the Jewish Question” and the head of the Reich Main Security Office, Reinhard Heydrich.

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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).

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„Operation Reinhard” in Lublin – The Liquidation of Ghetto

The nickname "Operation Reinhard" was first mentioned at the beginning of June, 1942 and was a kind of tribute to Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) and Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia1. It was the name of a plan of exterminating European Jews, over 11 mln people2. It was to be performed in General Government territory. The name "Operation Reinhard” was introduced after the beginning of the action. Before, the euphemism "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" was used.

"Operation Reinhard" took place mainly in Lublin and Warsaw districts, where concentration camps and death camps were located. In Lublin, the "Operation Reinhard" staff was situated (in the building which today is Collegium Iuridicum of The Catholic University of Lublin at Spokojna St. , headquarters of Odilo Globocnik– chief of police and SS in Lublin region (corner of today Wieniawska St and Czysta St) and his private villa (the building at Boczna Lubomelska St, usually photographed from the side of Leszczyńskiego St), as well as warehouses, where stolen property was segregated and stored (today the The Catholic University of Lublin library at Chopina 27 St).

"Operation Reinhard” was one of the most horryfing events in the history of mankind. There was no single institution which would plan and control the action. The whole Nazi administration was involved in the process. Its each element was necessary for the operation. Good workflow organization allowed the Nazis to eliminate no less than 1.5 million Jews in 1.5 year. They were murdered in "death factories" in a large-scale, "industrial" process. During "Operation Reinhard", no less than 600 thousand Jews were killed.

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The Artists of the Jewish District in Lublin

The Jewish District in Lublin was the home of three painters who won popularity and recognition during their lives. Two of them:Symche (Simon) Binem Trachter (born in 1893 in Lublin, died in 1942 in Treblinka) and Henryk Lewensztadt (born in 1893 in Lublin, died in ?) reached their artistic maturity in the interwar period, and the third painter– Yehuda Razgour (born in 1914 in Lublin, died in 1979 in Paris) received his education and recognition after World War II.

 

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Books of remembrance - “Sefer Zikkaron Lublin”

The books of remembrance dedicated to Jewish towns and people who lived in them are special publications commemorating the community destroyed by the Shoah. They were composed after the war, on the initiative of Jewish hometown societies active in Israel and in other countries of Jewish diaspora.
There are two memorial books about the Lublin Jews. The first one was published in Paris in 1952, the other one - “Sefer Zikkaron Lublin” - in Tel Aviv, in 1957. Below, we present a general characterization of the books of remembrance and the contents of the “Sefer Zikkaron Lublin”.

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Podzamcze and Majdan Tatarski ghettos

Two ghettos existed in Lublin under the German occupation. The first one, created in 1941, was situated in Podzamcze, the site of the historic Jewish quarter. It operated for one year and was the first ghetto liquidated within the Action Reinhardt, "the Final Solution of the Jewish Question" in the General Government. The liquidation of the ghetto begun at night of 16th /17th March 1942. On the 15th of April 1942, the area was already empty. The Jews present at that time in the ghetto were transported to the Bełżec extermination camp. Those who managed to obtain the relevant documents were transferred to a new ghetto, established in the district of Majdan Tatarski. It functioned until the end of the Action Reinhardt, the 3rd of November 1943 (Action Erntefest ), when the remaining Jews were taken to the concentration camp at Majdanek and shot there.

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The Seer of Lublin - Yaakov Yitzhak haLevi Horowitz-Sternfeld

(1745, Józefów Biłgorajski - 15 August 1815, Lublin)

Yaakov Yitzhak haLevi Horowitz (Hebrew: יעקב יצחק הורוביץ), also known as “Lubliner” - tzadik, one of the spiritual leaders of the Hasidic movement, called haHozeh miLublin - "the Seer", "the Clairvoyant" of Lublin.

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Guard Forces of the SS and Police Leader in Lublin

Functionaries from the Guard Forces of the SS and Police Leader played very significant role in "Operation Reinhardt” implemented from March 1942. This formation was given the auxiliary role in the process of extermination of Jewish people. It was used during the liquidation of ghettos, for guard duty in forced labor, concentration and extermination camps, as well as to perform numerous executions.

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The Displacement of the Jewish Inhabitants of German-Occupied Lublin Before the Creation of the Ghetto

The functioning of the Jewish district in Podzamcze during the German occupation can be divided into four periods. The first one commenced with the German invasion of Lublin and lasted until March 1941. It was characterised with the displacement of the Jewish population from various parts of Lublin to its historical Jewish quarter, which had been appointed as the Jewish area before the ghetto had been officially created. During that period, refugees and displaced persons from other regions of the General Government, including Reichsgau Wartheland and Pomerania, had been arriving in Lublin, too. The second period was marked with the decree issued by the Lublin District Governor Ernst Zörner, which regulated the establishment of the ghetto. This period was defined by a significant deterioration of living conditions which was a result of the overpopulation of this relatively small territory. Many houses were deprived of the necessary sanitary and hygenic infrastructure, which combined with undernourishment and poor medical care led to the outbreak of typhoid fever. The third period started at the turn of 1941 and 1942, with the German division of the ghetto into sections A and B, gathering the privileged inhabitants in section B, and ordering the rest of the Jewish population to remain in section A. The operations undertaken by the German occupying forces at this point were an important part of the preparations for the final extermination of the Jewish population in Lublin, facilitating the displacement procedures. On the night of 16th/17th March 1942, the final phase of the functioning of the ghetto began, which concluded in mid April with a complete liquidation of the Jewish District in Podzamcze. Within a month, the majority of the local Jewish population was transported to the death camp in Bełżec. Several thousand Lublin Jews were resettled to a makeshift, residual ghetto in Majdan Tatarski.

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The Orphanage at 11 Grodzka Street


The Nursery for Orphans and the Elderly was established in 1862 by the Jewish Community with the purpose of caring for orphans in need and elderly people1. It was situated in the Old Town at 11 Grodzka Street. The institution operated under this address until 24 March 1942, when German forces brought it to a close with the mass murder of both child and elderly residents.

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Jewish culture in Lublin

Lublin was an important centre of Jewish culture. Jewish cultural life manifested in various ways - fine arts as well as photographs of Jewish quarter. Famous Jewish theatres, that collaborated with artists known in all Poland, performed in Lublin. What is more, every day Jewish press was published here and many Hebrew printing offices were operating.

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Jewish politics in Lublin

In the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th century important changes took place in the auto-identification process among significant part of Jews living in Poland. These changes were based on a giving up the traditional understanding of common identity only as a religious category, and moving towards national or class-consciousness perspective. New socio-political tendencies started to reach also Lublin. The biggest boom of social life took place after 1915, when Lublin was under Austro-Hungarian occupation, and during the Interwar.

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The Landsmanshaft of Lublin Jews

In result of the World War II, many people found themselves in territories distant from their original place of residence. In order to maintain ties connecting them with the pre-war local society, the idea of landsmanshaftn, that would associate inhabitants of one locality or region, spread across the whole Poland, was born. The idea of creating a national organization, associating inhabitants of Lublin from before the 1939 period, originated among several activists related to the Provincial Jewish Committee in Lublin already in June 1946, and was implemented quite soon, in December 1946.

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Jewish organizations in Lublin after 1944

Along with the liberation of Lublin under the aegis of the communist government Jewish life revived, initially focused on provision of necessary material assistance to Jews, coming to Lublin from the region, republics of the USSR and western areas of the General Government.

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Jewish everyday life in Lublin

Jewish everyday life was centered around important family events such as a birth of a child, weddings, traditional habits and ceremonies, and funerals. Work, although, was also a very significant factor, that influenced everyday life.

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Jewish religious life in Lublin

Lublin was one of the most eminent Jewish centres of spiritual and religious life in Middle-Eastern Europe. An axis of this life was situated on a city map around Szeroka and Jateczna Street, where the biggest sacral building of Lublin - the Maharshal synagogue – was located. In 16th century a Talmudic Academy was built in that place. Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin continued its tradition. Synagogues and private houses of prayer were spread across the town. Jewish community of Lublin in 16th century was a third one regarding the number of its members (after Warsaw and Lviv), and in the middle of 19th century even the second one in Poland, after Warsaw.

Particularity and significance of religious life of Lublin Jewish community can de defined by various events related to its development.

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