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The village is 14 km. north of Chelm and 61 km. east of the regional capital Lublin.
The oldest records of Jews in Sawin date from 1627 town mayor's books. Up until 1914, the Jewish
community came under the authority of the Jewish community in Chelm. The Jewish community had
its garden at Brzeska Street. The following places belonged to the community: synagogue, school,
mikvah, ritual slaughterhouse and cemetery. The majority of Jews from the town were traders who
traveled to Chelm for trade. The mohelim in the village included: Ela Blumenblat, Fajwel Perel, Aron
Chuna Ajchenblat, Ch. Rozenbaum, Szimon Hersz Furer and Dawin Perelzohn. In 1822 there was a
teacher in Sawin called Fajbus Rotylas. There were four chederim in Sawin leading up to the war.
The teachers were: Lejba Koziol, Srul Epelsztejn, Aron Zimmerman, Jojna Geller, and Wulf Kac.
Religious instruction was taught by: Srul Zelman Epelsztejn, Icek Globen, Josef Szafman, Alter Globen,
Szmul Globen, Aron Cymerman, Jojna Gielcz, Wolf Kac, Chaim Lejb Rubinsztejn, Jojna Geller,
Herszko Milechman and Bencjan Weber. Some Jewish children attended Polish elementary school in
Sawin. In 1919 there were 223 children at the school, including 83 Jewish children. In 1936/1937
there were 127 Jewish children attending. In 1920 the kehilla in Sawin requested permission to
establish a school for poor children. The county authorities agreed and the building was located at
the market square. The primary teacher at this school for poor children was Icko (Icek) Globen.
In 1887 the village population was 2,000, including 139 Jews. In 1925, there were 611 Jews living
in the village of Sawin, making up 48% of total population. There were 882 Jews living in Sawin
at the start of WWII. They included 157 traders and salesmen, 75 craftsmen, and 250 laborers.
Successful businessmen before the war in Sawin included: Szapsa Rojter and Moszek Holcblat.
Bakers in town were: Nachman Holcblat, Wolf Berland, Gerszon Zygielman, and Miszel Szczupak.
Farmers were Icek Handelsman, Josef Rojter, and Lejb Szmul Stol. Glaziers were: Icek Celnik,
Aron Gerszon, Lejb Goldberg, and Herszko Henoch Kac. Tailors included Wolf Berland, Moszko
Icek Blumenblat, Chil Brus, Aron Hersz Goldman, Szmul Rozenblat, Abram Szajnberg, Chil Sztern,
Alter Tenenbaum, Szloma Wajcen. Dawid Berland, Mordechaj Blum, Majer Brajer, Abram
Buchsztaber, Szloma Bukszpan, Moszko Dorfsman, Moszek Fisz, Josef Friedman, Icek Holcblat,
Szyja Yoel Nisenbaum, Mordko Szabson, Benjamin Szczupak, Dawid Teper, Jankiel Wajsman,
Symcha Wajsman, Szloma Wajsman, Szmul Icek Wajsman, Szol Wajsman, Josef Waserman,
Maria Zajdman, Jehudit Listhausen, and the wife of Kiwa Rojter. Furriers in Sawin were Wolf
Brajer and Majer Brajer. Carpenters in Sawin included the Rojter family, Abram Diament,
Boruch Goldman, and Aron Ajzen. Shoemakers in Sawin included Abram Dawid Dorfsman,
Kasryl Dorfsman, Rubin Dorfsman, Srul Iser Dorfsman, Szmul Dorfsman, Szymon Jakub Elcter,
Chil Fnikielman, Szachna Handelsman, Jankiel Finkielman, Motel Kasz, Mordko Kasz, Moszko
Laufer, Chaim Hersz Laufer, and Chaim Rojter. Moszek Szlom owned a mill on Chelmska Street.
Other mill owners were: Joel Sztyfman, Icek Szyfman, Srul Sztajnberg, and Estera Merensztejn.
Many Jews from Sawin drove a horse and cart, including Jankiel Szwarc, Srul Iser Szwarc,
Hersz Szwarc, Fiszel Szwarc, Bencjan Szwarc, Jakob Szwarc, Nata Szwarc, Zelman Szwarc,
Szloma Szwarc, Moszek Szwarc, Ela Szwarc, Chaim Ledersztejn, Jankiel Zelman Ledersztejn,
Jakub Icek Goldman, Moszko Zysman, Nuta Grinsztejn, Nuta Krajs, Motio Krajs, Srul Krajz,
Szymon Parobek, and Icek Parobek. They drove people mainly from Sawin to Chelm to the local
markets there. Later, there was a regular bus route from Sawin to Chelm, and Icek Dajczer and
Kiwa Rojter were the bus drivers. Finally, J. Furer owned a grocery store, Abram Rojter, Rubin
Szrajer sold cattle, and Josef Sztern, A. H. Blum, Ledersztejn, N. Holcblat owned haberdasheries.
Temporary workers (day laborers) included Chil Brus, Jankiel Diament, Estera Fajga Dorfsman
(nee Finkielman), Moszek Josef Gartman, Jojna Gelerman, Szyja Glanc, Lewi Goldberg, Szapsa
Goldsztejn, Szulim Lejb Korenfeld, Ajzik Perelsztejn, Chaim Lejb Rubinsztejn, Moszek Josef Zalcman.
Pavers of the market square from 1936 onward included the following persons: Moszko Holcblat,
Chaim Jurfest, Alter Ledersztejn, Ruchla Sztern, Mordko Zwal, Hana Helfman, Jankiel Migdal, Dawid
Berland, Nuta Berland, Wolf Berland, Josek Frydman, Szloma Roter, Moszko Dorfsman, Cywia Perel,
Golda Ordynacka, Motel Parobek, Szul Grynberg, Gilalej Goldman, Szejwa Goldman, Brucha Sztern.
We can assume that all of the persons listed above were murdered in the Holocaust.
After the outbreak of World War II, the Nazis set up a ghetto and Judenrat in Sawin in
November 1940. Chaim Rojter became the chairman of the Jewish Committee. The following
streets formed the boundary of the ghetto: Brzeska Street, Koscielna Street, the Market
Square and Koscielny Square. The entrance to it was from Brzeska Street. A branch of
the Jewish Public Mutual Social Aid (Zydowska Samopomoc Spoleczna) was established
in Sawin because of the harsh conditions in the ghetto. Jews from Krakow were brought
to the ghetto in Sawin in 1941. Jews from Gorzkow, Wroclaw, Warsaw and France, Austria,
Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Hungary were also resettled in Sawin.
The Nazis set up a labor camp inside the ghetto. The German officer in command of the
labor camp was Greutner, a brutal sadist who would condemn Jews to death at the slightest sign
of insubordination. Also involved was a Nazi called Teodor Ondyt. The labor camp had five
or six wooden "timber" barracks with 60 people living in each. The average number of people in
the the labor camp was 700 to 800 persons. The camp area was surrounded by barbed wire.
The ghetto had also an assembly square and a kitchen. The latrines were on the periphery of
the ghetto. There was also a hospital that was situated in a house at the intersection of Brzeska
and Zielona Streets. In all, over 3,000 Jews worked at the camp. Meals were served twice a day
and consisted of a slice of bread and a coffee served with dirty water in the morning and a bowl
of soup in the evening. Often the officer in command would throw a slice of bread to a crowd of
prisoners. In the labor camp there was an epidemic of typhoid fever and dysentery. Successful
escape from the ghetto was achieved by two Jews from Czechloslovakia. Additionally, eight
Jews were shot in the nearby forests in an incident in 1943 after having escaped the ghetto.
The first transport from Sawin to Sobibor Death Camp was on June 10-13, 1942, in which several
hundred Jews were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. The second deportation was a group
deportation with other locales such as Swierze and Uhrusk in Oct./Nov., 1942 and included ~2,000 Jews.
The communique of the commander of the Lubllin gendarme, dated Aug. 29, 1943, states that
Wehrmacht soldiers discovered three bunkers and killed 11 Jews on August 27 in the area of
Sawin in the forests of Malinowka. At the end of September, 1943 the ghetto was closed down.
At that time the Jews were forced to walk from Sawin to Sobibor. Many died on the way.
Jews known to have been murdered at Sawin or transferred to Sobibor from Sawin include:
Wiktor Blumenkranz Berlinski from Krakow
Samuel Feldmann from Krakow
Abram Fedalowicz from Bydgoszcz
Berek Gorecki from Krakow
Samuel Katz from Krakow
Salomon Kora from Krakow
Judah Laufer from Krakow
Jankiel Lewin from Krakow
Jakob Liberfreund from Krakow
Salomon Mejer from Krakow
Mechel Obrenstein from Krakow
Wolf Ratz from Krakow
Mejer Salzberg from Krakow
Israel Schiffer from Krakow
Izaak Steger from Krakow
Henryk Steinkeller from Krakow
Lejzor Steinlauf from Krakow
Adolf Steinlauf from Krakow
Hersz Sterner from Krakow
Abraham Szwarcer from Krakow
Aron Ulrich from Krakow
Pawel Winter from Kolo
Israel Zuckermann from Krakow
The old Sawin Jewish cemetery is located in a forest on the western outskirts of the city. It is
difficult to imagine that among the pines was a Jewish cemetery. One is struck by a profound
feeling of emptiness, according to those who have visited. Both Alter Ledersztejn and Mordechai
Holcblat survived the war. Mordechai Holcblat, who lives in Israel, still comes to pay his tribute
at the cemetery in Sawin. After the war, Mordechai's only wish was that the local people respect
the Jewish cemetery in Sawin. In 1999, a wooden fence was installed around the cemetery at the
initiative of Mr. Holcblat. In 2001, with Philip Goldstejn, he created a memorial made from a rock.
One of the few eyewitness testimonies with regards to the Sawin Labor Camp comes from a
Czech Jew, Lucie Pollak Langford, who escaped from the camp. She wrote a book entitled
My Memoir. In it, she explains that the Sawin Labor Camp was operated for the purpose
of irrigation for the Germans. The Jewish workers at the camp were able to transform swampy
land into wheat fields. After the labor was done, the German commanders decided they no longer
needed the labor and the Jews were murdered. A private company run by German civilians was in
charge of the day to day profiteering and operations at the camp. Lucy's step-father and mother
were both at the camp. The step-father died of typhus and the mother was "led away", probably to
Sobibor Death Camp. By the time her mother was sent away, the camp had deteriorated to the
bleak point of having only 20 or 30 slave laborers left. The rest were already sent away to the gas
chambers at Sobibor -- which was nearby -- due to perceived weakness or illness by the local S.S.
It's important to note that many Ukrainian guards, trained at Trawniki, also worked at the Sawin camp.
Lucie Pollak Langford escaped through the assistance of two people, a Polish member of the AK
named Jan Henszel, and a German civilian who lived on the camp grounds. Henszel taught Lucy
Polish. She also spoke German and Czech. She was able to stay in the German man's room at the
Sawin camp, yards away from the local camp commandant, for several days. Eventually she escaped
into the woods and headed in the direction of Chelm. Jan, a Pole who was employed at the camp,
had an apartment in Chelm with his parents and his sister Danuta. Jan was 23 years old and Lucy
was 16 years old. Lucy made it out of Sawin camp, lived in Chelm for a period, and then went to
Germany. Sadly, she never saw either of her rescuers ever again. They risked their lives to help her.
The synagogue in Sawin was wooden, built in the 1880s and located on Brzeskiej Street.
A second synagogue was built in 1925. The Sawin cemetery has one remaining gravestone
that was not destroyed and is on Urszulin Road. In 2000, a memorial was erected at the cemetery.
Please review the site content below. Zachor - We Remember.
[History] [Holocaust] [Wikipedia - Sawin]
[Cemetery] [Old Synagogue]
[List of Czech Jews Deported to Sawin] [Continued List, #2>]
[List of Czech Jews Deporated to Sawin, #3] [Continued List, #4]
Click to subscribe to Chelm
Learn more at the Sobibor Remembrance Project
Jewish workers at slave labor camp #1 in Sawin during the Holocaust.
Jewish workers at slave labor camp #4 in Sawin during the Holocaust.
Jewish workers at slave labor camp #5 in Sawin during the Holocaust.
Join the Sawin group on Facebook!
Village of Sawin:
Labor Camp in Sajczyce
Labor Camps of Sobibor #1 Labor Camps of Sobibor #2
Labor Camp in Tomaszowka and Rudnia
Memories of the Jews of Sawin (in Polish)
Sawin Jewish Genealogy eGroup
Sobibor Remembrance Project
Families of Sawin:
Majdan Tatarski Ghetto Victims (Lublin) from Sawin:
(source: Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN)
Majdan Tatarski Ghetto Victims (Lublin) from Siedliszcze:
Lejb Hersh Cukierman
(source: Brama Grodzka - Teatr NN)
Rabbis of Sawin:
Nechemja Moszko Wajsbrot
Survivors of Sawin:
(three family members)
Malka Czesner Goldstein
Rosa Zalc Gerstein
Philip Goldstejn (Goldstein)
Dr. Jerzy Feliks Griss
Chaja Liba Szwarc Kodenczyk
Masha Miriam Zunszajn Raz
Dr. Jerzy Rot
Righteous Gentiles of Sawin:
- Gilowa family of Chutcze
- Koszowar family
- Majowek family
- Woloszkiewicz family (went to Kowel)
Sobibor Labor Camp at Sawin (with photos)
Jewish Records Indexing Poland - Sawin
(Note: Sawin and Chelm records were combined for most periods.)
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