Chmielnik | Swietokrzyskie Voivodeship

Picture of the synagogue in the local museum. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Former synagogue which today was transformed into a museum. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Plan of Chmielnik from 1874. Source: Local museum © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Picture of Jewish traders in Chmielnik. Source: Local museum © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Deportation of Jews from Jedrzejow to the death camp, Treblinka. Jews from Chmielnik were deported to Jedrzejow and then to Treblinka. Source: Local museum  © © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum / Alicja S., born in 1929 saw the deportation of the Jews to Jedzrejow. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Antoni K., born in 1924, saw four Jews being hung at the market place at the beginning of the war. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Zdzislaw L., born in 1936, saw the execution of four Jewish men who hid in the  Stradowska family’s house. It took place one year after the deportation of Jews. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Former market place where four Jews were hung at the beginning of the war. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Mass grave where the Jews killed during the deportation were buried. As it was then, it is still today a Jewish cemetery. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Memorial for the memory of the Jews murdered during WWII, located next to the museum. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Name of the Jewish victims written on the memorial. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview. © Cristian Monterroso/ Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Chmielnik

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Several dozen

Witness interview

Zdzislaw S., born in 1936: “After the deportation, the wojt [Note: Head of the local administration], the secretary of the gmina and the treasurer locked up all the Jewish houses. Afterwards, they sold everything: furniture, houses, and so on. People were poor and bought this for nearly nothing, these linens, furniture. I bought one table and my son burned it last year. I was angry at him because the table was so old. We were very poor back then; we were seven children in the family. So, we bought it because we didn’t have any choice. There were special announcements reading that a sale would be organized on the specific days at the market place.” (Witness n°565, interviewed in Chmielnik, on April 7th, 2016).

German archives

“According to the witness Kalman Zalaznik, during the resettlement of the Jewish population conducted on October, 5th 1942, he [the accused] shot a Jew, David Duz. [s.B1.257 d.A.]. Moreover, according to the witness, Arie Wloch, he [the accused] shot three Jewish women in the Jewish quarter in October 1942. [s.B1.272 d.A. ].
According to the witness Ignatz Mendrowski, O. [a German gendarme] shot four Jews at the market place of Chmielnik in September 1942, after having beaten them with a rifle butt. [s.B1.334 and 341 d.A. ]. Finally, on the Day of Atonement in 1942, he shot the witness’ uncle, named Majleck, next to the synagogue of Chmielnik.” [From the accusation trail of a German gendarme O.; BArch B162-1976]

Polish Archives

"1/ Date and place of execution: from September 4th 1939 to January 13th 1945.

2/ Type of execution: Shootings outside the ghetto.

3/ Data concerning killed people: Poles and Jews.

How many people were killed: […] 60 Poles and 70 Jews. 

Names, age, job, address: Among the Poles: Grusiecki Stanislaw, a farmer; Malgorzata Chmielewska, a worker, 64 years old;  Slusarski Jan, a shoemaker, 52 years old; Bialowas Jan, 56 years old, and others.

Among the Jews: Chaim Wolf Moszkowicz,  a carpenter, 24 years old; Trombecki Berek; Jool Unger, a peddler, and others.” [Court Inquiries about executions and mass graves n°613." [Miejscowosz: Miasto Chmielnik, Gmina: Miasto Chmielnika, Powiat: Stopnicki, Wojewodztwo: Kieleckie; RG-15.019M]

Historical note

Chmielnik is located 32 km south-east of Kielce. The first records about the Jews go back to the mid 16th century. In 1784, the Jewish community made up about 56% of the total population.  In the course of the years, the Jewish community became predominate and represented 82% of the total population. In 1867, 10,275 out of 12,500 in habitants were Jewish.  The Jewish community had their own cemetery and a synagogue which was destroyed under the first bombing during WWII. The majority of Jews lived off trade, for instance trade of wheat, animals, wood. Some of them were artisans, like shoemakers, carpenters, tailors and others. According to Antoni K., born in 1924, Jewish and Polish children went to the same school. On the eve of World War II, about 6,000 Jews remained in Chmielnik.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The German army occupied the town from the night of September 4 until September 5, 1939. Immediately after occupation, the persecutions of Jews began. The synagogue was burned down; about 50 Jewish shops were destroyed. The Jews were subjected to constant abuse and forced labor. Hundreds of Jews were sent to the labor camps in Pacanów, Busko-Zdrój, and Biala Podlaska. In the summer of 1940 about 7,000 remained in Chmielnik, including refugees and about 1,150 forcibly displaced from Glinica and Lodz. By the end of 1941, they were about 8,000. 

An open ghetto was created in April 1941. Due to overcrowding and bad living conditions, a case of typhus broke out and took away about a hundred Jews in few months. The liquidation of the ghetto started in October 1942. Thus, on October, 1st 1942, about 1,000-1,200 young adults fit to work were sent to the labor camp in Skarzysko-Kamienna, and about 40 Jews to the camp in Kielce. 

The main deportation took place on October 6, 1942, and was conducted by SS unit who arrived from Kielce for this purpose. After having gathered the Jews at the market place, the groups were marched towards Checiny, located 45 km away, from where they were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. About 72 Jews were left aside and taken back to the ghetto. In all, 700 Jews managed to stay alive after the first deportation action. They were all confined into the house where the Judenrat had been located. According to some historical sources, about 500 Jews were murdered by Germans on this day.

As a result of the field research trip, Yahad can confirm the isolated shootings did take place; Especially of those Jews who were too sick to walk or were found in hiding. But none of the witnesses confirmed that they were 500.  The bodies of those who were killed dead on the spot were gathered by the Jews themselves and taken to be buried at the Jewish cemetery.

The second deportation took place on November 5, 1942. During this deportation the remaining Jews, with the exception of 75 of them, were taken to Stopnica and then to Treblinka where they were subsequently killed. At the beginning of December 1942, the last Jews were deported to Sandormierz.

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