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Lubartów Ghetto was established by Nazi Germany and existed from 1941 until October 1942. The Polish Jews of the town of Lubartów were confined within it, amounting to 3,269 people or 53.6% of the town's population according to the 1921 census. Its inmates also included Jews deported from other locations in Europe. It was one of many such ghettos established in occupied Poland. The ghetto was dissolved when its inmates were deported to, among other places, the Belzec extermination camp, where they were murdered in 1942.
Lubartów's Jewish community was established in the sixteenth Century. Most of the Jews resided near the centre of the town, where they owned most of the businesses. There were also three synagogues and two Jewish cemeteries (one of which had not been used since the nineteenth Century).
The German army entered the town early on in the war, in 19 September 1939. On the morning of 12 October 1939, the German army ordered all of the Jews to go to the market square where they were surrounded by machine guns. This allowed for the German army to rob and destroy all Jewish-owned homes and businesses. This lasted all day.
Deportation and execution
The deportation of Jews to the nearby towns of Firlej, Ostrów Lubelski, and Kamionka, started at the beginning of November 1939. All of the Jews were told to leave. There were, though, a few who stayed to work for the German army. They were exiled from Lubartów until September 1940.
A Judenrat – German for "Jewish council" – was set up in late 1939 for those Jews who stayed. The first President, Jakub Modko Lichtenfel, did not remain in post for long and was soon replaced by Dawid Perec. The last Judenrat of Lubartów consisted of five members:
- Moshe Joel Edelman (President)
- Shlomo Ber Ciesler (Vice President)
- Izrael Ratensilber
- Menashe Kosman
- Jechiel Weinberg
The ghetto areas around the two market places of Lubartów were still in existence when the Jews returned from exile. A "people’s kitchen" was organised for the now poverty-stricken Jews. Deportation also existed to Lubartów. An example of this is the movement of 1,000 Jews from Ciechanów. In addition, by May 1942, 2,421 Slovakian Jews had been deported to Lubartów.
The first deportation to death camps started in 9 April 1942 (the last day of Passover). On the first day, 800 Jews who did not have work cards were ordered to go to the railway station, from which they were taken to Belzec extermination camp. The last of the deportations was on the 11 October 1942. Some of these deprtees were sent to Majdanek, with the others going to the death camp in Treblinka. Jews that were found to be hiding were shot. In total, the number of Jews found after last deportation numbered 300. After a while, the Jews that were found were instead deported to the Piaski ghetto.
The members of the Judenrat, and their families, were deported to Łęczna. They were shot in November 1942, while Jews who worked for the German gendarmerie were shot on 29 January 1943. After the last deportations, the synagogues and cemeteries were destroyed. The gravestones were used in a pavement at a Wehrmacht base.
At the end of the war only forty Jews had survived the mass murder, five of which had stayed in the town of Lubartów.
- Tshubinski, Baruch (1947). Hurben Levertow. Paris. pp. page 7.
- Documents from State Archive in Lublin and Archive of the Majdanek State Museum.
- Hurben Levertow, edited by Baruch Tshubinski. Copyright by "Les Amis de Lubartow," Paris 1947
- J. Kielbon: Martyrologia ludno?ci Lubartowa w latach okupacji hitlerowskiej (Martyrdom of the Inhabitants of *Lubartow in the Years of Nazi Occupation). Lubartow and Ziemia Lubartowska 1993
- Z. J. Hirsz: Lata wojny i okupacji 1939 -1944 ( Years of the War and Occupation 1939–1944). (in:) Lubartow – z dziejow miasta i regionu (Lubartow – from the History of the Town and Region). Ed by S. Tworek. Lublin 1977
- M. Derecki: Kromka chleba (Slice of Bread). "Gazeta w Lublinie” (23 April 1993)
- R. Kuwalek, P. Sygowski: Z dziejow spolecznosci zydowskiej w Lubartowie. (From the History of the Jewish Community in Lubartow). Lubartow i Ziemia Lubartowska 2000
- Gilbert, Martin: The Holocaust – The Jewish Tragedy, William Collins Sons & Co. Limited, London, 1986