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lived in Pulawy out of an overall population of approximately 12,000 in 1939. Pulawy was the
administrative center in the Lublin District, and it included 13 villages and farms around them:
Baranow, Deblin-Irena, Jozefow Nad Wisla, Kurow, Kazimierz, Konskowola, Lysoyki,
Markuszow, Michow, Naleczow, Opole Lubelski, Ryki, and Wawolnica.
There was an organized Jewish community in Pulawy from 1820. In 1897 it numbered 3,883 (about
73% of the population). The principal Jewish occupations were shoemaking, gardening, furniture-
making and shop-keeping. From the middle of the 19th century, the influence of Ḥasidism became
widespread among the Jews of Pulawy. From 1875 to 1884 the rabbinical seat of Pulawy was
held by Elijah Lerman, the author of Devar Eliyahu (1884). In 1888, Chaim Israel Morgenstern, the
grandson of Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, founded a Hasidic court in Pulawy. In 1910 there were 6,111
Jews (61% of the population). During World War I, the Jewish population of the town decreased
due to persecutions and a fire. From 1917, branches of all parties then active on the Jewish scene
were organized in Pulawy. At first, the Bund and Agudat Israel wielded the greatest influence, but
Po'alei Zion circles, other Zionist parties, and Communists also became popular. In 1921 there were
3,221 Jews (45% of the population) living in the town. Between the two world wars, there was a private
Hebrew secondary school, as well as Tarbut, Yavneh and Beth Jacob schools, and a Jewish library.
A Wehrmacht unit occupied Pulawy in mid-September 1939 and the Jewish population was immediately
confronted with violence and their possessions confiscated. Henryk Adler, the chairman of the kehilah
and a public school director, was named head of the Jewish Council (Judenrat). Other
council members included Dr Benjamin Honigsfeld, Kleinbaum Edelstein, and Moshe Rubinstein.
By the end of October 1939, the German administration ordered the Jews to move to a specially
designated quarter, located in a pre-war district inhabited mostly by impoverished Jews. The ghetto
spanned an area which was about one fifth of the total size of Pulawy. Its streets included Piaskowa,
Polna, Gdansk, Niemcewicz, and two courtyards. The Jews were confined to Gdansk and Piaskowa Streets.
The war damage in Pulawy may have been one of the factors for the early establishment of the ghetto,
the first in Lublin District, and indeed among the earliest ghettos created in the General Gouvernement.
In early November 1939, the Germans put up posters in Pulawy instructing the Jews to move into the
ghetto. One Holocaust survivor recalled that that the Germans issued an order on 4 November 1939,
expropriating all Jewish-owned businesses hours before the Jews had to move into the ghetto.
Conditions in the ghetto were poor, there was no sewage system, nor electricity, as the German
bombardment had destroyed the power plant in the first few weeks of the war. The area designated
for the ghetto was far too small for its 4,000 inhabitants. The Germans seized on the opportunity and
organized night-time raids on the ghetto to plunder Jewish homes, in search of valuables and jewelry.
Brutal beatings were commonplace and those who violated the 5pm curfew were shot on the spot.
The Jewish population was reduced every day, as many young people fled to nearby villages, as
Jews were permitted at this early point to leave the ghetto for two hours daily.
The ghetto in Pulawy was short lived; it was the first ghetto to be liquidated in the Lublin district. Posters
were put up by the Germans on 26 December 1939, giving the Jews 48 hours to pack their belongings
in preparation for resettlement. Because the temperatures hovered below freezing, the Jewish
Council offered the local German authorities a bribe to postpone the evacuation action until the
spring. This was rejected as was a similar appeal from a group of Jewish women with young children.
The Jews did not enjoy the promised 48 hours, as the Germans started the aktion on the night
of 27 December 1939, German police units, probably from nearby Kazimierz Dolny, stormed the
ghetto. They searched Jewish homes with their dogs, ordered men from their beds onto the streets,
and ordered women to pack up belongings. This expulsion was accompanied by savage beatings
and screaming. The German police units ordered the men to stand in a row on Lublin Street, the
main street in Pulawy, facing the buildings with their arms raised, and to sing in the freezing cold till
morning. Because they had been dragged from their beds, many were dressed only in nightclothes.
The Germans guarding them beat them savagely, while SS men standing nearby photographed
the beatings. The German police locked the infirm and physically handicapped Jews in the
unheated synagogue where they all almost froze to death.
The resettlement took place the next morning -- at 8am the men held captive along Lublin Street were
marched all together to Opole Lubelski. Along the way some of the German guards brutally beat
them. The women were given until noon to vacate Pulawy. Most were forced to walk the 20 miles
to Opole with their luggage, as only a few managed to hire wagons. Many infants died from
exposure along the road. Some 2,500 Jews arrived in Opole. However, some of the Jews of Pulawy
decided to flee to nearby towns and villages, such as Wawolnica, Kazimierz Dolny, and Belzyce.
After German Police units surrounded Kazimierz Dolny early on 29 December 1939, looking to
drive out unregistered Jews from the town, most of the refugees from Pulawy were forced to
flee from the town across the frozen fields to Belzyce. After the expulsions, the only Jews officially
permitted to live in Pulawy were were about 500 Jewish prisoners who were incarcerated in four
Judenlager, for forced laborers. The inmates cleaned streets, repaired railway tracks, worked on
road construction, and hauled timber at the state-owned sawmill.
In the summer of 1943, SS- Oberscharfuhrer Otto Hantke, who had been in charge of the Jewish
forced labor camp in Budzyn until the beginning of December 1942 and afterward in charge of the
Jewish forced labor camp in Poniatowa was sent to Pulawy in order to establish the sawmill as a
sub-camp of the Lublin concentration camp. Some 486 Jewish were employed in this sub-camp.
Although, the sawmill operated at a profit, thanks to the exploitation of the workers, the Jewish
prisoners there were murdered on 3 November 1943, as part of Aktion Erntefest.
Please review the site content below. Zachor - We Remember.
[Virtual Sztetl: History of Pulawy]
[List of Jewish Taxpayers in Pulawy, 1929]
Click to subscribe to Lublin-Jewish
Learn more at the Sobibor Remembrance Project
Otto Hantke, the Nazi responsible for deportations in Pulawy, with associates.
The market in the Pulawy ghetto.
Jews in Pulawy waiting to be deported to their deaths.
Town of Pulawy:
- Coming Soon
Majdan Tatarski Ghetto Victims (Lublin) from Pulawy:
Chaim David Langfus
Jechiel Michael Lewin
Chaim Szol Lewin
Tama Rajzla Lewin
Dr. Moszek Lewin
Froim Fiszel Rozenbaum
Nachman Juda Rozenblat
Bencian Szabaszon (Szabszon)
Laja Blima Urman
Srul Nuta Wajcman
Hersz Dawid Zajdentreger
(source: Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN)
Survivors of Pulawy:
- G...(?) Goffeld (went to Israel)
- More Coming Soon
- Jewish Records Indexing Poland - Pulawy
- 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, LublinJewish@gmail.com