Polish Citizens Escape to Russia - western Poland #general
Martin Davis (com)
The destruction of the Polish Jewish and Christian communities of
western Poland, at the very commencement of the Second World War on
1 September 1939, is an established fact. However, the details of
this destruction have not been widely disseminated.
For genealogists trying to research that specific period in the
region that bore the brunt of the attack, we are mainly reliant on
Jewish and non Jewish survivors of the slave labour camps and death
camps to provide a picture of what happened to the Jewish community.
There is no doubt that the Polish army put up a heroic defence against
the Germans, but they were absolutely no match for the invading Nazi
forces - anymore than was any other European national army of that
period. The German military machine, combined with the fanatical
madness of the Nazi regime, was unstoppable. Border towns with mixed
Christian and Jewish communities, such as Dzialoszyn and Szczercow,
were totally destroyed and their evacuated populations became a mass
of refugees on pock marked roads who sought to find somewhere to stay
in other locations in the region.
For Jewish people there seems to have been rarely an opportunity to
escape into the General Government area. Almost immediately they were
detained and sent to ghetto prisons. Between June and September 1942
these ghettos were 'liquidated' with the surviving inhabitants sent
mainly to the Chelmno death camp.
My specific interest in these issues was prompted when I started to
build the ShtetLinks websites for Szczercow, Dzialoszyn and Osjakow.
Each had their own story to tell and each had one distinct similarity.
The similarity was that the overwhelming majority of the civilian
population (Jewish and Christian) was caught in the Nazi net with no
opportunity to find refuge in a 'safe haven'.
Of the three sites, the relevant circumstances are best described by
Toby Kormornik in her testimony on the Szczercow site
and in the narrative details which are written on the 1939-1945 page.
Martin Davis - London (UK)