Photographs of Losice, A Visual Memorial

Compiled by Warren Grynberg

(Coloured photographs are the copyright of Warren Grynberg).
(Black and white photographs from the archives of Marek Jerzman, Poland).

Jews in Losice before the Second World War

Before the Holocaust the Jewish population of Losice was 2900 people out of a total of approximately 7000. The main trade was in the shoe making industry.

 

Jewish men, women and children standing in the empty Rynek (Marketplace).

 

The former Great Synagogue that once proudly stood in
Miedzyrzec Street. This was one of the first buildings to be destroyed by
nazi aerial bombardment in early September 1939.

 

This is where the Great Synagogue once stood. Now occupied
by a newspaper kiosk and two blocks of apartments.

 

Map of Losice in Yiddish shows the extent of the Ghetto in 1941.

2900 Losicer Jews, with others from nearby shtetls, were herded into this small area. Entire families were pushed into cellars, attics and small rooms. A total of c6900 people lived here until the liquidation of 22 August 1942.

To leave the Ghetto without permission brought a death sentence on the spot. Each day Jews would be taken from the Ghetto for forced labour, many never returned. Hundreds died of malnutrition, starvation, typhus and typhoid.

On the 22 August 1942, Shabbat, the entire Ghetto was awakened very early in the morning by the Aktion of the police and SS. All Jews were ordered to assemble in the Market Square by 7.00am carrying one bundle weighing no more than 15kgs.

The women and children were taken by foot or on carts towards Siedlce.
Half an hour later the men were ordered to march. The nazis were shooting into the crowds all the time and hundreds were left to die where they fell in the road.

They arrived at Siedlce at night where they sat huddled together with the Jews of Siedlce, Mordy and other nearby Shtetls. During the night shots rang out and there were the moans and the groans of those left wounded to die.

Early the next morning they were herded to the train station. At nine o'clock the train came with its cattle wagons. The thirst was unbearable. If they asked for water they were shot on the spot. People were choking in the wagons. Mothers threw their children out of the tiny windows in an effort to save them.

The train remained in the station for one hour. People tried to jump from the train from the tiny windows. They were sitting targets for the soldiers sitting on the roof. The train starting moving, the journey took many, many hours.

Treblinka was forty miles away ...

 

The liquidation of the Losice Ghetto. On Shabbat, 22 August 1942.
Bundles have been left strewn in the Marketplace.

 

This photograph of the Rynek, or Marketplace was taken secretly during the nazi occupation. It was here that the Jewish population were made to assemble before the liquidation of Jewish Losice.

The marketplace today, a quiet park and receation ground.

 

It was here, in Berka Joselvitch Street that my father Herschal Grynberg was born in 1915. The house has long disappeared. This street was in the centre of the Losice shetl and once part of the Losice Ghetto.

 

This photogaph was secretly taken in the Ghetto c1941.

The Jewish population were starved and constantly humiliated. Hundreds were taken each day to slave labour camps nearby to dig ditches, make roads and in the winter clear snow and ice in freezing conditions.

 

The desecrated and destroyed Jewish Cemetery of Losice.

Today it is an empty piece of wasteground.

 

 Desecrated and broken up the Matzevot (gravestones) were taken by forced Jewish labour to make roads, build walls, and used as paving stones.

They were taken from the Jewish Cemetery.

 

Warren Grynberg with a desecrated Matzevot from the Jewish Cemetery.

This photograph was taken in the backyard of a house used as the Gestapo headquarters. The stones were used here to build walls and as pavements.

 

These stones that pave the Gestapo headquarters are Matzevot (gravestones) taken from the Jewish Cemetery by Jewish slave labour.

 

There are thousands of memorials at Treblinka. Each represents a lost
Jewish community. On the 24 August 1944 the Jews of Losice, Siedlce,
Mordy and other shtetls were brutally annihilated here
by the nazi murderers. Over 800,000 Jews were systematically
murdered in the gas chambers of Treblinka.

We shall always remember them

We shall never forget them

G-d Bless them all

Shalom

 

 This article and coloured photographs are Copyright of Warren Grynberg

15 December 2002

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