Kraśnik | Lublin Voivodeship

The market square in Kraśnik, 1915.© Taken from Photo of Jews from the Kraśnik ghetto, wearing an armband and carrying a large piece of furniture on his back. ©USHMM Photo Archives Kraśnik, Poland, two Jews being humiliated ©Yad Vashem Photo Archives A group of Jewish partisans that operated in the forests outside of Kraśnik and Janów Lubelski. © Taken from / Great Synagogue built in the 16th century in Kraśnik, located on the Bóżnicza street.   © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Stanislaw C., born in 1935 : “There were around 20 Germans. Two of them would repeatedly go get the group of victims and bring them to the pit to shoot.”  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Jan L., born in 1932 : “One day, the Jewish inmates of the ghetto were told that water would be drained into the ghetto. So that was the reason why they had to dig a huge pit. They did not know that it would be a grave.”  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum The territory of the ghetto today.  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Jan L. showing Yahad the entrance to the ghetto in Kraśnik.  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum The diagram of the ghetto and one of the execution sites made by Yahad’s team as a result of field research. ©Yahad-In Unum The territory of a labor camp in Kraśnik Fabryczny, the Budzyń camp. Today there is a hospital.   © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Jewish cemetery where, according to the Polish archives, about 400 Jews were murdered. Exectuion site n°1.  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum A park in front of a labor camp where about 300 Jews were shot according to the witness interviewed by Yahad. execution site n°2  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum team with one of the witnesses in Kraśnik visiting an execution site.  © Jordi Lagoutte   /Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°3. Back then it was a forest where the Jews from the labor camp were buried or executed. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kraśnik

4 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery (1); forest in front of the camp (2); Labor camp (3)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Up to 2,000

Witness interview

Jan L., born in 1932: “The area of the ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire and the guards were circulating around. Those who wanted to get inside needed a special pass. Other people were not even allowed to approach. One day, the Jews who were in the ghetto were told that water would come into the ghetto. So that was the reason why they had to dig a huge pit, so that the water would not overflow. They did not know that it would be a grave. Those who dug returned to the ghetto. Then, many groups of Jews were killed, slowly, one after another. Those who dug the pit had to fill it in after the execution. Everything took place at the Jewish cemetery.” (Witness N°722, interviewed in Kraśnik, on August 21, 2017).

German archives

“[…] I was sent to the construction of the new filling station for the army in Kraśnik. It was located 3km far from the town. We built 3 big oil tanks with a capacity of 2 million liters. SS-Hauptsturmführer U was charged with surveillance of Jewish labor and labor camps of the zone. I worked in this camp with 200 other Jews until January 1942. From that point on, 100 Jewish workers were allegedly transferred to Warsaw. They disappeared without leaving a trace. I continued working in the camp until May 1942. There were several isolated shootings in the camp. I saw how one civil German foreman called S. from S. & G. firm shot 8 people in early 1942. [Deposition letter of Salman L., Jewish survivor, sent from Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 20, 1962, BAL [Temporary number: 20170718155912392 p.1]).

“When we were in the camp, Germans found Jews in hiding – in the basement of the camp for example – and shot them at the Kraśnik Jewish cemetery. More than 100 people were shot that way. I saw the victims leaving the camp in direction of the cemetery; then, I heard shootings. The Jewish cemetery was visible from the camp because we were on a hill in front of it. The dead bodies were buried by the prisoners of the Kraśnik camp. The victims were always escorted by the Gestapo.” [Deposition letter of Ascher M., a Jewish survivor, sent from Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18, 1962, BAL: [Temporary number: 20170718155845333 p.1]).

Polish Archives

1st excerpt

1. Date and place of execution: November 4, 10, 16, 1942.

2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting.

3. Personal data on the executed victims (Polish, Jews, other nationalities): Jews

Number of executed victims: 395 Jews.

Origin of the victims: Kraśnik Arbeitslager. […]

8. Where were the bodies buried? Exact place: mass grave at the Jewish cemetery.

9. Description of the pit/pits/dimensions, number of victims per pit: 15m by 5m and 3m deep.

2nd excerpt

1. Date and place of execution: from November 1942 to February 14, 1944 on the Budzyń camp’s territory.

2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting, hanging, stoning, tortures, beating with a stick up to death, burning, burying people alive, and hanging by legs, suffocation.

3. Personal data on the executed victims (Polish, Jews, other nationalities): Poles, Jews, other nationalities.

Number of executed victims: approximately 800 people.

Origin of the victims: the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Kraśnik, Bełżyce, Janów Lubelski, Janiszów, Końska Wola, Mińsk, Bebrujsk, Mohylów, Smoleńsk, Wien, Slovakia.[…]

8. Where were the bodies buried? Exact place: on the Budzyń camp’s territory, on the left side and in the little forest. [IPN :GK 163/14]

Historical note

Kraśnik is a town located 49 km southwest of Lublin. Until 1975, before becoming one administrative unit, Kraśnik, Kraśnik Fabryczny and Budzyń were separated towns. The first records about the Jewish community go back to the 16th century. Through the centuries, the Jewish community increased, making up half of Kraśnik’s entire population in the early 1800s. According to historical sources, 1,961 Jews lived in Kraśnik at the time. They had a synagogue and a house of prayer. The Hasidic movement became active in the 19th century. According to the 1897 census, the Jewish community numbered 3,367. After World War I, there were 4,200 Jews living in Kraśnik, mostly in the town’s center. Mainly, they lived off small scale trade and handcraft. At the time, different aid associations and political parties appeared, as well as the Zionist movement. In the interwar period, the community owned a cemetery, two synagogues, three houses of prayer and a couple of cheders. However, according to the local testimonies, many Jewish children went to the same school as non-Jews, where only religion-classes were separated. On the eve of the German occupation, approximately 4,000 Jews lived in Kraśnik.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kraśnik was occupied by the Germans on September 15, 1939. In late November and early December 1939, a Judenrat was established, as well as the Jewish police. In January 1941, there were over 6,000 Jews in Kraśnik including those displaced from Łódź and Janów Lubelski.

Starting in 1941, the Jews were used as free forced labor by the Germans.The first camp was established in the area so-called “Benzynówka.” Either in 1940 or in 1941, according to different sources. The detainees from this camp were used for earthworks and assembling of petrol containers. Many isolated shootings took place on the territory of “Benzynówka” during its existence, according to German archives. The second camp was created in May 1942 in the Jewish area of the town close to the synagogue. It numbered 250 Jews, the majority of whom were craftsmen and artisans. In September 1942, the camp was transformed into a closed ghetto where Jews from Zakrzówek and other towns were driven.

The third and the biggest camp was established in Kraśnik in the autumn of 1942, in the factory district, known in historical sources as Budzyń camp, located in Kraśnik Fabryczny. The Budzyń camp was located near Dąbrowa forest and it was composed of eight wooden barracks. According to Polish archives, the confined Jews in Budzyń camp were about 1,000 Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, Kraśnik, Bełżyce, Janów Lubelski, Janiszów, Końska Wola, Mińsk, Bebrujsk, Mohylów, Smoleńsk, Wien and Slovakia. In 1943 this camp numbered 3,000 detainees, the majority of whom were subjected to perform labor in the Heinkel’s plant, or in a Lagerhalle to repair engines, or dig the ditches, clear the forest.

The first wave of deportation took place on April 12, 1942. On this day, the Jews were first gathered at the marketplace and then, after the selection, those who were unfit to work and didn’t have special stamps in their work cards, mostly women, children and elderly, about 2,000 people, were taken to the railway station and sent to the Bełżec death camp. That same day, 500 Jews were shot in the town. Another execution was conducted on October 17, 1942, when about 250 Jews from Zakrzówek were murdered for not arriving on time to the Kraśnik ghetto. According to the eyewitnesses’ interviewed by Yahad In Unum, the Jews from Zaklików were executed in the same period. They were shot immediately at the Jewish cemetery after being brought to Kraśnik. The exact numbers of the victims from Zaklików remain unknown. Second mass deportation of people who were earlier gathered in the ghetto, took place in mid-October 1942. They were sent to Bełżec.

The Kraśnik ghetto was liquidated in November. According to the Polish archives, during three executions conducted on November 4, 10 and 16, 1942, respectively, 395 Jews were shot at the cemetery, located in front of the ghetto. The Germans gathered the last few hundred laborers in the Budzyń labor camp which operated until June 1944. Then, the last 300 laborers were sent to the Płaszów camp.

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