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A charter of privileges granted to Belzyce in 1432 designated it a compulsory step for merchants who
traveled to the Lublin fair. The Council of Four Lands convened in Belzyce in 1643 and in 1689 and 1691.
The community suffered heavy losses during the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–1649 in which the
synagogue, school, and many human lives were exterminated. The town organized six fairs per year,
which were attended by Jewish merchants from all areas of the Lublin Guberniya (Governorate). Jews
in town owned 19 stalls in the market, as well as taverns with stables that were rebuilt after the 1780 fire.
In 1764 the Jewish population numbered 949; in 1897, 1,705 (out of 3,182); in 1921, 1,882 (over half
the total population); and in 1939, 2,100. The Jewish district included Zydowska Street (now 1000
lecia Street), Zatylna Street (now Jakub Nachman Street) and Poludniowa Street (now Bednarska
Street). In 1859 the population consisted of 49 tradesmen of various goods, 17 tailors, 57 shoe-
makers, 3 bakers, 2 furriers, 2 tanners, 1 distiller and 5 landlords.
When Poland regained its independence in 1918, in addition to the great synagogue and beit
ha-midrash, there were 6 private prayer houses, 8 cheders, a mikvah, a ritual slaughter house and
two cemeteries -- the old one (excluded from use) and the new one operating from 1825, in Belzyce.
Statistics from the period indicate that religious ceremonies in the synagogue were regularly attended
by approximately 230 adult men (above 12 years of age).
During the interwar period Belzyce was a typical shtetl, with a Christian community that mainly pursued
agriculture and petty handicraft production, and a Jewish community who lived off small trade (textile
fabrics, paraffin oil, ironware), crafts and providing credit services to the residents of the town and the
kehilla. At the beginning of the 1930s the kehilla controlled the synagogue, the bath-house and the two
cemeteries. Thirty-five shops and market stalls were owned by Jewish residents. Jewish tailors,
shoemakers and glaziers were highly respected by non-Jewish townsmen and peasants. There was also
a Jewish photographer, Mostek Goldsztajn, and a barber and dentist, Jakub Kirszt, worked in the town.
Just before the outbreak of the Second World War the town had over two thousand Jewish residents.
The German army entered the town in mid-September 1939, and the Jewish population became
subject to the persecution and terror carried out throughout Lublin Province. The Jews from Belzyce
and nearby towns (including Bychawa and Piotrowice) were resettled into a dozen or so houses on
Poludniowa Street (now Tysiaclecia Street) in December 1940. Belzyce became a transit ghetto
that housed Jews from all over Europe. In February 1940, about 300 Jews from Stettin, Germany
were deported to Belzyce. In February and March 1941, about 500 Jews from Krakow and another
500 Jews from Lublin were forced to settle in town. On May 8, 1942, 1,200 Jews from Leipzig in
Germany were relocated to Belzyce, while on May 12, 1942 several thousand Jews from central
Germany (Saxony and Thuringen) were deported to Belzyce. The population grew to about 4,500
people by the time the mass deportations to the death camps began.
The ghetto was surrounded by a wall in January of 1942. Previously, it had not been closed but had
been guarded by Jewish policemen. The Jews kept in the crowded area of the ghetto were decimated
by typhus and the terrible sanitary conditions. In spring 1942, the Germans conducted an Aktion
against the Jews in Belzyce. They rounded up over 3,000 Jews for extermination at Sobibor and
Majdanek. Ukrainians from Trawniki oversaw the execution of many Jews in the ghetto as well.
Many of the Jews selected for the transport were shot during the 10 km. march from Belzyce to the
railway station in the village of Niedrzwica, 24 km. (15 mi.) southwest of the regional capital Lublin.
On October 2, 1942, S.S. men with Ukrainian assistants murdered 150 male Jews, many of them from
Thuringen in Germany, in front of the Belzyce synagogue. On October 13, 1942, another aktion
took place and thousands were murdered, either in the town itself or via transport to Sobibor.
Belzyce became a work camp until May 1943, when yet another aktion took place -- this time
the murders of 850 to 1000 Jews, mostly women and children, in the Jewish cemetery.
In May 1943 the Belzyce camp was liquidated. Several hundred Jews, mostly women and children,
were shot, while another 250 women and 350 men were sent to Budzyn Labor Camp or the
Piaski transit ghetto, where only a handful survived.
A Torah scroll from 1730 as well as both synagogues were destroyed by the Germans.
Please review the site content below. Zachor - We Remember.
[Jewish Partisans in Poland's Lublin District]
[Partial listing of Krasnik Survivors]
Click to subscribe to Lublin-Jewish
Learn more at the Sobibor Remembrance Project
Belzyce in 1882.
Tarbut school in Belzyce, between 1932-1934. Photo includes Ester Lajwand, Ethel Lajwand.
Jews in Belzyce, pre-war.
Unidentified Jewish residents of the community.
Slave labor in Belzyce, administered by Nazi Ernst Kostial (2nd from right).
A deportation from Belzyce.
A wedding, including the Borchardt couple from Germany, in the Belzyce ghetto.
Join the Belzyce group on Facebook!
Town of Belzyce:
- Coming Soon
Majdan Tatarski Ghetto Victims (Lublin) from Belzyce:
Szloma Abram Cymerman
Sura Rywka Kierszenbaum
Chaja Sura Keller
Chana Lederman, nee Rozenknopf
Bajla Ita Rozenkopf
Mordechaj Troper or Troppe
Szmul Lejzor Troppe
Jankiel Icek Wakszul
(source: Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN)
Survivors of Belzyce:
- Dora Arbuz
- Jeremiasz Arbuz
- Lejb Arbuz
- Mania Arbuz
- Nimrod Ariav
- Myron Bander
- Pawel Blank
- Yaffa Blumenkranc
- Esther Cane
- Malka Davidson
- Judka Dekiermacher
- Mordko Edelstein
- Yitzchak Fajgenbaum
- Misza Fersztman
- Symcha Fersztman
- Szol Fersztman
- Josef Galster
- Srul Siergiej Geber
- Paula Gold
- Berek Goldstein
- Abram Grunbaum
- Jerzy Gut
- Sara Kam
- Chaim Kirsz (Kirscht)
- Jakob Kirsz (Kirscht)
- Aron Kleinman
- Shirley Kowitz
- Jakob Kusmann
- Elka Lajwand
- Estera Lajwand
- Israel Lajwand
- Kalman Lajwand
- Sam Lajwand
- Chaja Mantel
- Yisrael Morgenstern
- Abram Rajs
- Regina Schapiro
- Abram Scherman
- Rosa Sztajwurcel
- Sara Stajnwurcel
- Ben Taublik
- Berek Tyszblatt
- Lejb Wajsbrot
- Nusia Weingarten
- Szloma Weller
- Rivka Westraich
- Mirka Winer (Wiener)
- Harry Zansberg
- Piotr Raczynski from Motycz Lesny
- Jewish Records Indexing Poland - Janow
- Jewish Vital Records in the Polish State Archives
Remember Your Family:
- The DNA Shoah Project: Connecting Descendants
- Central Judaica Database - Museum of History of Polish Jews
- Grandchildren of Holocaust Survivors on Facebook
- Guide to the YIVO Archives
- Holocaust News/Events from Generations of the Shoah Int'l
- Holocaust Survivors and Victims Database
- JewishGen Family Finder
- JewishGen Holocaust Database
- JRI-Poland: Search for Your Family
- Museum of History of Polish Jews Introduction
- Yad Vashem: Search for Your Family
- Yad Vashem: Submit Names of Your Family Members
- Yad Vashem Requests Photos of Shoah Survivors and Families
U.S.: Aaron, firstname.lastname@example.org