INDEX/TABLE OF CONTENTS:|
2. Transports to Lipowa 7
3. Testimony from the Camp
4. Resistance of the Prisoners
5. Remaining Prisoners Murdered
6. S.S. at Lipowa 7
7. Known Escapees / Victims at Lipowa 7
According to official Polish sources, the total Polish combat losses in the September 1939 campaign by Germany against Poland amounted to: 63,000 killed, 133,700 wounded and 420,000 taken prisoner. Of the 420,000 taken prisoner, 61,000 of them were Jewish. In the first period of the war, Jewish soldiers were detained along with their gentile comrades by the Germans in transit camps located in the Polish cities of Radom, Zyrardow, Siedlce, Krosniewice, Kutno and others. German authorities subsequently decided that the Jewish prisoners of war should be separated from the gentiles.
On 1 September 1939, German troops crossed the Polish border. In "Nasz Przeglad"
[Our Review], the leading journal of the Jews in Poland, the following statement was
released: "The Zionist Organization and the Jewish people take the Polish side, ready to
fight for their dignity and independence. This statement should be an example for the
World Jewry. The position of the Jews all over the world is on the Polish side." During the
September Campaign, in the ranks of the Polish Army, more than 120,000 Jews fought
against the German invaders. 32,216 of them were killed and 61,000 were captured.
From the transit camps the prisoners of war were transferred to Mannschaftsstamm Lagers ("Stalags") located in Germany. In all Stalags Jewish prisoners were separated from their gentile comrades. They existed under murderous conditions; hard labor, starvation and incarceration in cells without heat during the difficult winter weather of 1939/1940. This was in addition to daily abuse and torture. Many of them died or were shot. In Stalag XII A in East Prussia, during a period of 10 months, 330 prisoners, out of the 400, were murdered by camp guards. There is evidence that Jewish prisoners were murdered in transit camps such as in Zambrow camp, where the Germans shot 250 prisoners. An estimated 700 to 900 of the Polish officers incarcerated, were of Jewish origin.
In October of 1939, Lublin Jews were forced to convert a former square in Lublin into a prisoner of war camp. Barracks were built for manual workers and the camp was named Lipowa 7 (pronunciation: Lipp-ova 7) because of the street location where it was built. The S.S. was in charge of running the camp. A layout of the camp can be found here.
In December of 1939, the same month the camp was established, thousands of POWs from the eastern part of Poland were sent to Lipowa 7 camp. The Germans took a few hundred Jews out of the camp in late December and marched them along the Parczew-Miedzyrzec road. Most of the prisoners died on this march, either from the freezing weather cold or by shooting. Parczew was a stopping point on the tragic march. When the prisoners were locked in the local synagogue during the evening, Jews in Parczew secretly smuggled some of them out of the synagogue to save them from death. A Russian named Olek was one of those who escaped, and he later organized a partisan unit with Fiodr Kovalov.
TRANSPORTS TO LIPOWA 7
In mid-1940, about 1,200 local Jewish craftsmen from the Lublin district were incarcerated at Lipowa 7. These workers were transferred to the Lublin ghetto in December, 1940 and replaced by prisoners of war. During 1940-1941 transports of war prisoners arrived at the Lipowa Street camp from Stalags in Germany, as follows:
-- Some 200 prisoners from Stalags arrived on December 2, 1940
-- 3,200 Jews from German-occupied areas were sent to Lipowa 7 between Jan.-June, 1940
-- 500 prisoners arrived from East Prussian Stalags between Dec. 10-16, 1940
... (Note: Some of these prisoners were transferred to work on the Ryki airfield.)
-- 2.500 prisoners from the Stalags arrived at Lipowa Street camp on January 23, 1941
Samuel Gruber, an escaped POW from Lipowa 7, explains in his book I Chose Life how Jewish prisoners at Lipowa 7 were forced to build the concentration camp Majdanek in 1940 and 1941. Select groups of Jews from the Lublin ghetto, from the Warsaw Ghetto, and prisoners from Czechoslovakia were forced into slave labor at Lipowa 7 in 1942 and 1943 according to researcher Robert Kuwalek. He says that most of the prisoners were from the former Eastern territories of Poland, which between September 1939 and June 1941 were under Soviet occupation.
In 1941 there was a typhus epidemic at Lipowa 7. Sick prisoners were sent to the Maharshal synagogue in Lublin, where many of them died. Of the 60,000 Jewish enlisted men taken prisoner by the Germans in the September 1939 campaign, only a few hundred survived captivity.
TESTIMONY FROM THE CAMP
Zalman Roznitzky, the son of Itshe Nathan, from Ruzhany in Belarus, shares: "During the time of the Second World War, on September 20, 1939, I fell into German captivity in the forests of Kompanow near Warsaw. I was sent to Landsdorf along with the Polish captives, and from there to Amr on the French border. I was held in that camp until August 1940. Then the Germans concentrated all the Jewish prisoners who originated in the Russian-Eastern sector of Poland and brought the to Gorlice.
From there, they were transported to Lublin in January 1941. There, the Germans set up a hangar for the S.S. men in Lublin. Other Ruzhany natives were together with me there: Yaakov Rabinowich (the son of Beilka), Nota Rotner (the son of the lessee who lived in the courtyard of the synagogue), Moshe Lewin (from a Pawlowa family), Yitzchak Levenbok (from a Konstantinova family), Berl Rodtzky (the son of Eliahu the smith who lived near the market), Shlomo (Einstein's son-in-law), Rafael Movshowitz (the grandson of Yehuda Leib the shoemaker, the son of the sister of Fishel Karpelewich), Moshel Adef (the son of Yaakov Asher the “fisher” from Hagoszczenecz), Michel Pintlewich (the husband of Hinda Ogolnik, who later died of typhus in Lublin), Eliezer Kanetzpolsi (the son-in-law of Eisenstein the Torah reader, Gittel's husband).
In Lipova Camp 7 in Lublin, there were thousands of Jewish soldiers from the Polish Army, who were natives of the eastern-Russian sector of Poland. They housed us in horse stables, which were turned into some form of bunks. We suffered greatly in that camp. From the month of July 1941 and onward, we built Majdanek via slave labor. Once, during the construction, I was driving with an S.S. man, who boasted to me that the Majdanek Camp would occupy the entire vast area of forests around, for it must house all of the Jews and the population of Moscow.
We were sent to work in various places. Only I remained to work in the hangar. I was one of its first builders. We set up the hangar in the airfield. Ninety percent of the camp inmates took ill with typhus. The sick people were transferred to the hospital in Lublin that was set up in one of the synagogues. I also took ill and was hospitalized. When I returned to the camp after the illness, a selection took place. The weak people were sent to the Majdanek Camp, which had been built by us.
I was removed from the transport and returned to my workplace in the center of Lublin "Trupwirtshafts Lager Der Waffen S.S. Garten Strasse." I was very weak. When I recovered, the Germans took me out to work, and I was the only Jew who went about almost free. I had connections with the previous camp. I supported the camp residents. There were 6,000 people there, including 2,000 women whose jobs were to sort the clothing of the Jews who had been sent to Majdanek.
The Germans brought about 1,500 Jews to the camp next to the airport, including the following Ruzhany natives who had moved to Bialystock: Betzalel Podrevsky, Avrahamel Limon, and Aber Liverant. The Germans sent the families of these people directly to the furnaces of Majdanek. The wife of Zalman, the son of Dov Levenbok, who was also brought to Bialystock, was among the 2,000 women working at sorting the clothing. The Germans maintained the aforementioned 6,000 people in the camp until November 2, 1943. On November 3, not one Jew was left in the camp next to the airport, in Majdanek or Lublin. The Germans murdered 18,400 Jews in the three camps during those days. Testimony from a reliable source exists regarding this.
In June 1944, I fled from my workplace to the fields and hid. I was afraid of people. I slept among the stocks of grain. I obtained food from farmers by threats. After great suffering, I was liberated by the advancing Russians."
RESISTANCE OF THE PRISONERS
The prisoners of Lipowa 7 were determined to maintain their rights. In February 1941, historian Emmanuel Ringelblum notes in his diary that there are 700 Jews at Lipowa 7 and they were told to put on arm bands, but "they opposed it even at the risk of being shot" and the idea was abandoned by the Germans. Prisoners in the Lipowa 7 camp elected a prisoners committee, first headed by Dr. Krojt. When he was sent to another Concentration Camp, they elected Yitzchak Brandel. When Brandel escaped from the camp, they elected Roman Fischer. With the exception of Birger Ezrahi, almost all of the testimonies from camp survivors praise Fischer for his skill at helping advance the camp underground and dealings with the Nazis. An aid fund was established by the prisoners and monies they earned were used to buy arms through the underground. The prisoners' committee under Fischer was dividied into three battalions, 13 companies, and various platoons. This system of organization allowed escape attempts to take place throughout the camp existence.
After the prisoners learned that 100,000 Soviet POWs were murdered by the Germans near Chelm, the Jewish POWs intensified their preparations for resistance. A rescue committee was established and its members were: Roman Fischer (chair), Samuel Yaeger, Pawel Przysuski, Yaakov Jan Szelubski, Goldberg, and Zajf. By mid-1942, the prisoners were in a desperate situation after learning that 30,000 Jews from Lublin were sent to their deaths at Belzec or Majdanek. The prisoners had acquired a certain number of weapons and contact had been made with the Polish underground through the commanders of the prisoners' battalions, Salomon Wallach and Dawid Sajfert. The Poles were given money by the Jews to purchase arms and prepare a base in the Janow forests, however it was unclear to the prisoners if these Polish people would carry out their end of the bargain.
There were numerous successful escape attempts by prisoners of Lipowa 7. Notable escape efforts include:
- February 2, 1941: Icek Brandel and several of the original 200 prisoners escape from Lipowa 7. Most of them were apprehended and murdered.
- April, 1942: A group of 17 people, led by Shmuel Jaeger, escaped to the Pulawy forests and created a partisan unit.
- October, 1942: Dawid Reisler led a group of 40 prisoners in an escape, however they were betrayed at the hands of their allies, the Polish Military Organization (POW). All except two (Jan Szelubski and either Chaim Blacher or Abram Blacher) were murdered near Krasnik.
- October 28, 1942: Samuel Gruber, Kaganowicz, and between 21 and 33 others (the number is unclear) escaped from Lipowa 7 and formed their own partisan unit.
- November 11, 1942: A group of 46 prisoners, led by Stefan Finkiel and Dov Berezin, escaped with arms taken by force from the German guards. No one at the camp noticed they had left.
- December 11, 1942: A group of 15 prisoners including Aron Fajgenblum escaped from the camp and were shot on December 14 near Krasnik.
- March 30, 1943: An armed group of 30 men, led by Roman Fiszer, escaped from the camp but only half succeeded in reaching the partisans.
REMAINING PRISONERS MURDERED
After the Sobibor Uprising (October 14, 1943), Heinrich Himmler issued an order to kill all of the remaining Jews in the Lublin district labor camps. This mass murder took place simultaneously in the forced labor camps on November 3-4, 1943 and more than 18,000 Jews were shot in trenches near the Majdanek crematory, among them the prisoners of Lipowa 7. The code name was Aktion Erntefest ("Action Harvest Festival") and was organized by the S.S. Polizeifuhrer Jacob Sporrenberg, among others.
Even before the Jews of Lipowa were sent to their deaths, there was a rebellion led by Hebrew school teacher Froim Szosznik. When he called out a password, the Jews broke through the encirclement and began running and shouting "Long live freedom!" The S.S. and Ukrainian guards opened heavy fire and only ten prisoners escaped. The remaining prisoners were shot at Majdanek later that day.
The camp stood empty until January 1944, when 200-300 non-Jewish prisoners were sent to Lipowa 7. This group was evacuated to Auschwitz in July 1944.
In total, about 7,000 Jewish POWs passed through the Lipowa 7 camp. The camp was liquidated on July 22, 1944.
S.S. AT LIPOWA 7
The Nazis who oversaw the Lipowa 7 camp were: Odilo Globocnik, Jacob Sporrenberg, Ludolf von Alvensleben, Hermann Dolp, Dorendorf (Dorndorff), Otto Hantke, Klein, Friedrich-Wilhelm Krueger, Lissy (or Walter Liska?), Karl Heinrich Wolfgang Mohwinkel, Eric Muhsfeldt, Johann Offermann, Hermann Ramm, Horst Riedel, and Kuno Schramm.
Globocnik committed suicide, Sporrenberg was sentenced to death, and Hantke received a life prison sentence.
KNOWN ESCAPEES & VICTIMS AT LIPOWA 7
- Motel Barbanel: went to Israel
- unknown Andreiev: murdered before war ended
- Lipman Aronowicz: went to Israel
- Boris Berezin**: went to Israel
- Jankiel Berg: unknown fate
- Yosef Birger Ezrahi: went to Israel
- Chaim or Abram Blacher: likely murdered
Note: Was in the same partisan unit as Szelubski
- Isaak Brandel: likely murdered
- Abraham Buchman: went to Israel
- Chaim Chalef**: went to Australia
- Josef Cynowiec: went to Israel
- Abram Czarny**: likely murdered
- Bernard or Pinczuk Dolinski: unknown fate
- Moshe Dubczak**: unknown fate
- Marek Dvaretsky**: went to Germany
- Moshe Erlich: went to Israel
- Aron Fajgenblum: murdered near Krasnik
- Sam Finkel**: went to USA
- Roman Fischer: went to Israel
- Jacob Frank: went to USA
- Szlomo Frydman**: went to Israel
- Szymon Fuhrman: killed by accident during the war
- Juliusz Gelbart: went to Israel
- Laib Leon Giterman/Gitterman: born 1914 Lutowiska; survived
- Wolf Glaicher**: murdered before war ended
- Aron Gotz**: went to USA
- Samuel Mietek Gruber**: went to USA
- Aryeh Lejb Helfgot: went to Israel
- Sy Holzman: went to USA
- Srul Jakubowicz: likely survived
- Max Naftali Jammer: likely survived
- Josef or Berko Kaganowicz: murdered before war ended
- Jona Kaplan: went to Israel
- Lejb Kuliszewski: born 1916 in Kosow Poleski; murdered
- unknown Kotlar
- Abram Lewinson (Lewinsohn): went to Israel
- Szaja Litman: Redeported to Majdanek, killed on Nov. 3, 1943
- Geniek Lipman: born 1907; murdered
- Boris Matros: murdered
- Leon Nemzer**: went to Germany
- Leon Nussbaum: born 1916 in Tarnopol; survived
- Pawel Oszerowski**: went to Israel
- unknown Podgorski
- unknown Reich
- Dawid Reisler**: murdered
- Josef Reznik**: went to Israel
- Zalman Rozanitzky: went to Israel
- Dawid Sajfert (Sayfert)**: murdered before war ended
- Moshe Schiefenbauer from Lwow: likely murdered
- unknown Schindler
- Israel Schleien: went to Israel
- Henryk Schoengut: murdered
- Moshe Spiewak: murdered
- Josef Sterdyner**: went to Israel
- Perec Szechtman (Peter Sedgman)**: went to Australia
- Jan Szelubski**: went to Israel
- Bernard Szwarc**: murdered after war ended
- Symcha Turkletaub: went to Israel
- Salomon Wallach**: born 1911 in Podwoloczyska; murdered
- Jankiel Waingarten**: murdered ~1943
- Fajvusz Fabian Wolstein**: went to Israel
- Shmuel Yaeger (Yager)**: murdered before war ended
- Samuel Zylberstajn: likely murdered
- Julius Zinger: Born 1915 in Waszkowice; murdered
- Abraham or Salomon Zwanger from Budzanow: murdered
- Yehoshua Zwieback: went to Israel
- Moshe Zylberberg Caspi: went to Israel
- Pinchas Zyskind**: went to Israel
Known Victims of Lipowa 7:
- unknown Friedman or Frydman
- Lejzer Klepacz
- Mordechai Lerner (b: 1906, Bialystok)
- unknown Liberman
- Dawid Melamed (from Slonim)
- Itsku Minzberg (from Szczebreszyn)
- Benjamin Rogaczewski
- Jankiel "Yaakov" Rubinowich (from Ruzhany)
- Froim Sosznik (killed on Nov. 3, 1943)
- Noah Stockman, who also was at Budzyn
- Abraham Tepmann (killed on Nov. 3, 1943)
- Lejzor Tokar
- Berel Zusman
- unknown Zylbereich
- Menachem Juda Zyskind
**Those marked with asterisks have a photo available. Contact us for details.
The list of the Jewish POWs imprisoned in the camp on Lipowa Street can be found in Benjamin Meirtchak's book "Zydzi - zolnierze wojsk polskich polegli na frontach II wojny swiatowej" ("Jews -- the soldiers of the Polish Army died on the front lines of the World War II"), Bellona Warszawa, 2001. It also contains also the names of the victims of the Death March from Lublin to Biala Podlaska.
- Description of Lipowa 7
- Location of Lipowa 7 Camp
- Lipowa 7 Camp Overview