Kosina | Subcarpathian

/ The building that was used as a prison where the captured Jews were kept before being taken to the execution site. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Tadeusz R., born in 1924: “One day, I was appointed by the soltys to guard the street with the empty Jewish houses where gold was supposed to be found. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Tadeusz R., born in 1924: “A few executions of Jews were perpetrated by a Polish blue-navy policeman called Kokkot near the prison building. A man from the village had to transport the victims’ bodies to the field where they were buried.”©Piotr Malec/Yaha Władysław Z., born in 1927:  “I remember my friend, Srul Majlak. His parents were shot in Kosina during the German occupation. When he learnt about his parents’ death, he wanted to give himself up to the Germans”. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Władysław Z., born in 1927:"I met Majlak while he was hiding in the field. He asked for my advice. I told him to stay in hiding and promised to bring him food, which I did. Soon, he was gone. I don’t know if he survived."©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Mieczysław U., born in 1924, brought the Yahad team to the site where 9 Jews from Kosina were found in hiding and shot by a navy-blue policeman in early spring 1943. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Mieczysław U., born in 1924: “Around ten Jews from Kosina were hiding here in an underground bunker. They were found and shot by a navy-blue Polish policeman. Their bodies were buried in the bunker and never exhumed.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Mieczysław U., born in 1924: “My schoolmate, a Jewish girl called Dońka, was hiding here too. During the shooting, she ran out of the bunker and begged the policeman not to kill her. He took her with him somewhere.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The mass grave of about ten Jews from Kosina, found in hiding and shot in early spring 1943 by navy-blue Police officer Józef Tomczak. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Mieczysław showed the Yahad team the site, that had been used as a cattle pit before the war, where at least 20 bodies of the Jewish victims shot in Kosina and the surrounding area were buried during the German occupation. © Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Inscription on the commemorative plaque: “Here lie Szymon Kirschner 58yo, his wife Kaja 48yo and their daughter Ita, 9yo, murdered by Nazi criminals in the village of Kosina on August 14, 1942”. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kosina

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Field (n°1); Cattle pit (n°2)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Over 30

Witness interview

Władysław Z., born in 1927: “There were several Jewish families in Kosina before the war, they were scattered around the whole village. Jewish and non-Jewish children would go to the same school. There was a house of prayer in a private Jewish house. I recall some of the names of the village’s Jews. There was Mordka, Wałowicz, Szlama, Cały, Peszel. When the war started, five Germans from Bavaria settled in my house. They were nice to us. They would give us food which was priceless during wartime. During the war, all the Jews from Kosina and the surrounding area had to wear armbands with the Star of David on their sleeves and were forced to work. At some point, shootings of Jews were carried out near the school building. One day I saw such an execution. About 15 Jews were shot that day, next to the school building wall, by a “navy-blue” policeman from the Poznan region, who was in the post office in Łańcut. The victims were men and women, I didn’t see any children. They were from Kosina and some nearby villages. After the execution, a local villager took the victims’ bodies to the burial place on his cart… Today we call it the Jewish cemetery. At the time, it was just a field that belonged to the local manor. That’s where the Jews shot in Kosina were buried. There is a monument today at the site.” (Witness n°1024P, interviewed in Kosina on the 9th of May 2019)

Polish Archives

"In the autumn of 1942, members of the SS, the Gestapo and the gendarmerie shot 40 Jews (men, women, children). The bodies of the victims were buried in mass graves. Some names of the victims have been established: the Augenbraun family, the Kostecher family, the Kutscher family, the Lejzor family, the Mordke family, the Pachciarz family, the Peszel family, the Szlam family, the Wojsztak family, the Wałwys family, the Zeller family.

In the spring of 1943, the Nazis shot 9 Jews (Kestecher Ilona, his two daughters and his son, Zeller-Muhlard and 4 members of his family). Bodies of the victims were buried on the estate’s fields." [Register of places and facts of crimes polled by the Nazi occupation in Poland in 1939-1945, Rzeszow Voivodeship]

Historical note

Kosina is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Łańcut, within Łańcut County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in southeastern Poland. The village is situated approximately 6 km (4 mi) east of Łańcut and 23 km (14 mi) east of the regional capital Rzeszów. Very little is known about the pre-war Jewish community from Kosina. According to Yahad witness testimonies, about ten Jewish families lived in Kosina before the outbreak of war. The witnesses cited the following names of Jewish families: Mordka, Wałowicz, Szlama, Cały, Peszel, Srul, Kostecher, Pachciarz, Lejzor. Most of them were merchants and craftsmen. Jewish and non-Jewish children went to the same local school. Jews had a house of prayer in the village located in one of the Jewish private buildings.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The German army arrived in Łańcut, the capital of the municipality, on September 9, 1939. Shortly after, the entire region found itself under German occupation. The Germans established a navy-blue police post office in Kosina, with five polish policemen and one member of the Gestapo at the head of the office. The Jews from Kosina and neighboring villages were often taken to the police post, where a temporary prison was set up. The prisoners were either shot or transported to the Pełkinie camp on requisitioned carts. According to Yahad witness testimonies, many individual and mass shootings of Jews from Kosina and the surrounding area were perpetrated near the local school building. After the executions, the bodies of the victims were transported on a cart by a requisitioned villager to the field in the grounds of the local manor, where they were buried in a mass grave that had previously been used as a cattle pit. Today, the site is commemorated with a memorial. The available archival sources seem to confirm this information. The book “German Nazi Crimes Against the Jews who Escaped from the Ghettos” by Szymon Datner mentions a shooting that took place in Kosina in the autumn of 1942, during which SS officers and gendarmes executed 22 local Jews (including women and children) by firing squad, “for hiding to avoid deportation” for extermination purposes. Three families were identified among the victims: the Zellers (Hersz, Dawid), the Augenbrauens (Ita, Chaim, Klara), and the Kutschers (Sara, Ita). All the bodies were buried at a site used for animal interment at the Kosina farm in a collective grave. Gendarme Weber was identified as one of the perpetrators of the shooting. In this book, as well as in the available archives, we can find an information about another execution, during which 9 Jews found in hiding in the underground bunker in the nearby field were killed. In the spring of 1943, a navy-blue officer, Józef Tomczak, shot the group of 9 Jews, which included women and children. The victims were Kutscher, Chana, her 2 daughters and son, 4 members of the Muehlbrad family, and Zeller, Chana. They were all buried together at the crime scene, in the bunker they had been hiding in. Yahad - In Unum managed to find an eyewitness to this execution. That day, Mieczysław U., born in 1924, was working at the manor, when he heard that a shooting of Jews was about to take place in the nearby field: “I heard people saying that they were looking for Jews in the field. So, with another young man, we went to see what was going on. It was at noon, we had an hour and a half lunch break. When we arrived, several Jews had already been shot by a navy-blue policeman from the Kosina post office.” Thanks to Mieczysław’s testimony, Yahad - In Unum managed not only to establish many interesting details regarding this execution, but also to locate the execution site and the burial place of the murdered victims. Today, the mass grave containing the 9 victims is completely invisible, located somewhere in the middle of the field. The is no memorial at the site.




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