“Germans burned Jews already on Sept 9th 1939 and blamed Poles”
Translation: From „Bedzin.naszemiasto.pl”, 2011:
“The liquidation of both the Jewish community and the Będzin synagogue was brought by the Nazi occupation.
On September 4, 1939, during invasion the Germans entered the town of Bedzin in Poland. On the night of September 8-9, 1939, on the Sabbath day, the Nazis set fire to the synagogue together with Jews praying in it. People fleeing from the temple were shot. Some of the monks were saved thanks to priest Mieczysław Zawadzki, who opened the gates of the local presbytery and allowed the Jews to get to the Castle Hill.
The building of the synagogue, as well as a large part of the surrounding buildings that made up the Jewish district, was completely destroyed, the demolition of the remains of the fire was done by Jews on the order of the Nazis. ”
“On the night of September 8-9, 1939, the Germans burned down the synagogue together with 200 Jews praying inside. At the same time, the Jewish quarter was burned down, and in particular the houses located at Kołłątaja, Kościelna, Bożnicza, Plebańska and Zamkowa Streets.
Germans did not allow firefighters to put out the fires. Soldiers shot at the fleeing Jews who tried to save themselves from death in flames. They also shot those trying to take religious figurines and books from the burning synagogue.
14 people were gunned down. Others, caught in the street, were forced into the tar barrels by the German Nazis, who set fire to them.
Szaja Płużnik submitted the following account of this event: “On Saturday evening, September 9, 1939, at 7-8 am I was at my apartment. My neighbor Gutman, who lived on the third floor, came to me and called that he has noticed a fire. We ran to his apartment and through the window saw that the synagogue was burning. That night the district inhabited by the Jewish population was burned, in particular the parts of Kołłątaja, Kościelna, Bożnicza, Plebańska and Zamkowa Streets. The Jews were burned alive or shot while trying to escape. ”
The Germans later accused Poles and collaborating Jews of setting the synagogue on fire. Then, on September 9, a group of 40 hostages of Jewish and Polish descent were shot in the starosty’s courtyard. ”
A testimony from the Chronicle of the Holy Trinity Parish in Będzin (pp. 57, 58 and 59) written by the parish priest Mieczysław Zawadzki:
“It was September 8, 1939. Dark night descended on the town and curfew was imposed after 7 pm. There was no light, electricity was gone, so I went to bed earlier, but I did not sleep yet when at about 8 o’clock in the evening I heard a few powerful detonations. After a few minutes, my housekeeper knocked on the door of my room: – Please, priest – the synagogue is burning. Germans are killing the Jews!
I jumped out of bed, dressed quickly and ran out into the yard. Indeed, a huge column of smoke lit by the flames hovered above the synagogue. One could hear the detonation and the terrible screams of people being burned alive. The fire was spreading. The Germans went from house to house, from the synagogue to Boczna St., systematically setting fire to the houses. Throwing out residents, they threw grenades inside the houses setting them on fire. Every now and then we heard the Germans laud orders, sound of grenades and the screams of murdered people.
We were convinced that Germans wanted to burn and destroy the entire town of Będzin. The presbytery garden, presbytery, presbytery buildings were surrounded by huge blocks of tenement houses that were set on fire. Between the burning houses, I could see Germans walking around the gardens. Every now and then there was a terrible scream, then a shot and a momentary silence.
Germans also threw grenades into the vicariate, but some residents managed to escape to the presbytery. More and more shots were heard, more and more houses were burning. Jews were thrown out from their homes, beaten and shot at began to flee towards the church, lamenting and calling for help.
I reassured them and opened the gates to let them in, then quietly asked them to follow me to a hiding place on the Castle Hill, where they were safe.
The fires around the town were getting more and more powerful; there was a wind that drove sparks, pieces of burning roofing felt onto the church and presbytery, but thankfully didn’t catch fire. Andrzej Bobola.
I was completely black from the smoke and was expecting the Germans punishing me for saving Jews. In the morning I went to church and celebrated the Holy Mass.
A bell rang around noon. The terrified housekeeper said: – Germans are coming for the priest!
I crossed myself and calmly went out into the hall. A uniformed German officer stood there with a translator. When asked what they wanted, the translator told me that they needed a grave for 42 people who were shot because they burned Będzin!
What a perfidy, what a lie – they themselves – the Germans – burned Będzin and murdered innocent Polish citizens. This case was later brought to me by Mr. Szeniec, a lawyer, who as member of the Citizens’ Committee, was forced to collect the murdered and take them to the morgue.
To cover up their crime of destroying the town in this way, the same night they carried out a satanic plan: they began dragging out sleeping residents out of their beds, including the elderly and even young boys, and 42 of them gathered at the eldership.
They collected their details, and after about two hours later German officers came out with a translator reading the verdict, accusing them of plundering and burning the Jewish houses. Terrified, innocent people began to protest. The translator, however, assured them not worry and requested they only signed the protocol: – ” you will be fine – he said – just sign this paper and you will be free! ”
The unfortunate people signed, and then the Germans led them to the wall and shot them all. Mr. Szeniec told me that he was soaked with human blood when he and other members of the Citizens’ Committee, on the order of the Germans, had to collect the executed and take them to the morgue … ”
“Jews in Zagłębie”, “Sowa-Press” 1993, pp. 89-91
“Germany, most likely with the consent of the then Dąbrowski Basin ruler, Gen. Colonel Wilhelm List, especially the commanders of the special Operational Group of the Nazi security forces, SS-Gruppenfuhrer Udo von Woyrsch, set fire to the Będzin synagogue, in which the gathered residents prayed. At the same time, they surrounded the houses at Plebańska, Kościelna and Kołłątaja Streets, inhabited mainly by Jews. German soldiers opened fire at those who started running out of their homes trying to save their lives and belongings.
It was not the end of the provocation. That same night, the Germans arrested 42 Poles accussing them of setting fire to Jewish homes. The detainees denied it, but when they were promised that, if they confessed they would return home, some in desperation, naively decided to confess to the provoking anti-Semitic excesses. Fr. Mieczysław Zawadzki at this stage try to protect and defend them, but was served with the same accusation. Those imprisoned on the same day were shot and ordered to bury.
Fr. Mieczysław Zawadzki as arsonist. See Jan Przemsza-Zieliński, Zagłębie Dąbrowskie in World War II, Sosnowiec 1995, pp. 38-39 ”
“Don. Zawadzki is buried in the old parish cemetery at Górka Zamkowa in Będzin. In his honor on September 1, 1993, a memorial plaque dedicated to him and funded by the Jews from Będzin was unveiled.