Maków Podhalański(Makow) | Lesser Poland Voivodeship

A photo of the Dawid Schanzer’s store, early 20th century.© Courtesy of 	Jan Pawlik, Taken from / ozef M., born in 1927 talked about a Jewish child hidden by his family: “My father had a lot of compassion for this Jewish child, he was a kind child, and my brother really loved him. We loved him as if he was our brother.” © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The former garden of Willa Marysin where many isolated executions took place between 1940 and 1942. The two of the three mass graves were opened, and 92 corpses were reburied at the cemetery in Wadowice. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Former building where the Gestapo’s headquarters were established. The prison where the Jews were confined prior to the shooting was located in the same building. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum The railway station where the Jews were gathered on August 28, 1942, before being deported to the death camps. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team at the morning briefing before the research day. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-In Unum Catholic cemetery where about 150 Jewish victims murdered at Willa Marysin were buried. The witness points out the only plaque which commemorates Jewish victims. It was created      through a proper initiative by a local resident. © Jordi Lagoutte/Yahad-I

Execution of Jews in Makow

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
House (1) ; catholic cemetery (2)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Over 200

Witness interview

Józef M., born in 1927: “I arrived there. I [I did not] need to unload the wagon. It was the prisoners’ duty. The Gestapo man got out. He already saw them from his balcony, or his window. Or perhaps someone called him before they got here. They brought two old Jews, a woman and a man. She was wearing a wool scarf – that was trendy; she was wrapped in it. When they arrived, the Gestapo man – I saw him; I think his name was Wenger – was holding a Luger. I knew he would shoot them after a while. He ordered them to go in the garden: “Garten! Garten!” [Ordering them] straight to the back of the garden. They went there and he shouted “further”. A policeman from the Granatowa unit repeated to them to go further. Once they got further, the Gestapo man stood about 10 meters behind and shot the old man. He aimed at him, and he fell right away. The second time, he shot her. She was screaming so loudly that my mother, who was outside in front of the house, heard her. The situation annoyed the Gestapo man. He came closer and shot her two more times which shot her dead. I was not really staring at this. I just wanted to go away with my wagon as soon as possible, because [I was worried] he could be annoyed and shoot me for pleasure, since I was a witness.” (Eyewitness n°803, interviewed in Maków on March, 24th 2018)

Polish Archives

« Gestapo men brought a group of Jews. They were locked up for two days in a parish house located at 58 Rynek street.  They did not get any food or water. There were at least 20 people.

Two days later they were transferred to the “Marysin” villa.  I was ordered to dig a pit there. I did this task with Stanislaw Talaga. I could not describe the Gestapo soldiers who ordered me to do this. We dug a pit of 4x5x2 m behind the villa. We were ordered then to hide ourselves. Both of us hid in the bushes where we watched the executions of Jews.

I saw five Gestapo men. I am not able to describe their appearance. First, they brought mothers and children from the villa’s cellar. They took the children and threw them in the pit. The mothers screamed. They ordered them to get rid of their clothes. One they were naked, then shot them dead.” [Jan Polak, born in 1905, testifying on 21th March 1974, Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich in Krakow]

Historical note

Maków Podhalański is a town located 50km southwest of Krakow. The first mention of the Jewish community dates back to the first half of the 19th century. The majority of them owned taverns and lived off rent. Supposedly, many Jews had passed by the town even before as there were a lot of horse fairs. In 1890, about 100 Jews lived in Makow. At the end of the 19th century, there were 45 Jewish families. By that time a wooden synagogue had been built. However, there was no Jewish cemetery – all the Jews were buried in the nearest town of Jordanów. Jews from Makow were not exceptionally rich. In 1916, their situation got worse because of a fire that burned down several houses in the center, where the Jews lived. In 1920, 200 Jews lived in the town comprising 5% of the total population. Most of them lived off trade of wood, fabric, and iron materials. Some owned restaurants or bakeries, according to the witness interviewed by Yahad-In Unum. Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Jewish community numbered about 300 Jews. The town was occupied by Germans in September 1939.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

 Immediately after the occupation, the Nazis started to persecute the Jews. They were not allowed to circulate freely in the town; however, there was no ghetto. Between 1940 and 1941, there was a labor camp, where all the Jews from the town and surrounding areas were confined. The inmates were subjected to forced labor, for instance: cutting  wood, digging a canal, and the road construction from Sucha to Jordanow.  In March 1941, the Nazis took Gmina’s estate and ordered the destruction of the synagogue. A Judenrat was created. Between 1940 and 1942, the Gestapo unit stationed in Willa Marysin where a prison had been created. Many of the Jews were imprisoned there prior to being shot. In the course of these years, systematically, the Jewish inmates were taken from the prison in groups of fives or sevens to the pits. They had to dig the pit in the garden close to the prison, and then they were shot to death. During one of such executions, fifteen young girls from Rabka, who, according to the witness interviewed by Yahad, served as “comfort girls”, were shot in one of the pits. Before being shot, they were forced to undress.

About 150 Jews killed at Willa Marysin were buried in the Catholic cemetery of the town by a local gravedigger or requisitioned local people. On August 28, 1942, the final extermination of the local Jews took place. On this day, all the remaining Jews were rounded-up and taken to the railway station to be deported to the death camps, Auschwitz or Bełżec. According to the testimony of a local resident, those who couldn’t walk or were too ill were killed on the spot in their houses. All the Jewish belongings were taken by Germans or sold at an auction to the local people. In 1964, two of the three mass graves located at the Willa Marysin were exhumed and the corpses were reburied in Wadowice. There is no memorial for Jews in Makow.

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