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Zabikowo the Nazi camp at Posen!

Poznan/Posen and the Camps at Zabikowo

 

Posen/Poznan

Poznan or Posen as it was known during the occupation is located in Western Poland and during the German occupation between 1939 and 1945, was incorporated into the Reich and became capital of the Wartheland. 

Jewish refugees may have settled in Poznan after such upheavals as the Rhineland massacres of the First Crusade, the peasant riots of 1248 and the Black Death persecutions of 1348-49.

 

A Jewish was in existence in the second half of the 14th Century, with Jews engaging in money-lending and money-changing, mostly on a small scale under charters guaranteeing religious freedom and internal autonomy.

 

In 1399 Jews were murdered and their account books destroyed in one of the recurring anti-Jewish incidents that plagued the community over the centuries. Epidemics and fires also disturbed the community during its early existence.

 

During the 15th and 16th centuries Jews increasingly migrated to trade and crafts, although there were residence and trade restrictions at this time, by the mid-16th century Jews comprised half the cities population.

 

There was a general atmosphere of prosperity and the community was one of the most important in Greater Poland, with a much coveted rabbinical seat and a renowned yeshiva. Among the yeshiva heads were R.Shemuel Edels(Maharsha), David ha-Levi(the Taz), author of the well-known Turei Zahav on the Shulhan Arukh, and R. Moshe Lipschitz.

 

A period of crisis commenced in the mid- 17th century, only 300 of the city’s Jewish families survived the Swedish invasion of 1656 and in the Northern War of the early 18th century the Jews again suffered grievously.

 

Many Jews left the city during a plague in 1709 and eight years later the Jewish quarter of the city was destroyed by invaders from the so-called Tarnograd Confederation and a year later a great fire destroyed more Jewish homes along with the synagogue.

 

In 1736 Jews were arrested in a blood libel and held in prison for four years. Throughout the century the process of economic decline continued unabated. With the establishment of Prussian rule in 179, interrupted between 1807-15 when Poznan was included in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and Jewish rights were suspended, Jews gradually achieved a measure of equality and with increasing education underwent a process of cultural and political Germanisation.

 

Active among the maskilim was the Hebrew writer and educator David Caro who opened the first modern Jewish school there in 1816. The Jewish population grew to a peak of 7,255 in 1871, but thereafter emigration substantially depleted the community, particularly among the educated class, whilst Jewish tradesmen continued to face strong competition from the city’s Germans and Poles.

 

In the late 19th century, the community was split in two between the followers of Haskala and religious conservative elements. A Hovevei Zion group was formed in 1895.

 

The community operated a hospital which was founded in 1887, public health services, an old –peoples home, orphanage and summer camps, most children studied in public schools.. The First World War accelerated the decline in the population as many settled in the interior of Germany, leaving 2,088 Jews in 1921.

 

Prominent among the Zionist youth movements was Hashomer Hatzair which sent many of its pioneers to Palestine in the 1930’s when the Jews were subjected to violent outbursts of anti-Semitism along with economic boycotts.

 

German troops occupy Poznan/Posen

The Second World War

 

The Germans invaded Poland on the 31 August / 1 September 1939 and using blitzkrieg tactics quickly defeated the Polish forces, before the arrival of German troops in early September 1939, many Jews fled Poznan, seeking refuge with relatives in other parts of Poland.

 

The Germans marched into the city on the 10 September 1939 and five days later they confiscated thousands of books that were held in the Jewish library. They forbade Jewish schools to open on the 16 September and they closed Jewish shops on the 20 September 1939.

 

The Jewish shops were taken over by the NSV (National Socialist Social Welfare) organisation. On the 20 October 1939 the first Jewish victims Benno Rindfleisch and Julius Tychauer were shot at Fort VII. Several more Jews were shot in the same month, in Poznan and in nearby Buk and Kornik.

 

A resettlement camp for Poles was opened on Baltycka Street in the central district on the 5 November 1939. A week later SS- Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhem Koppe, the Higher SS and Police Leader Posen – Wartheland, issued instructions for the resettlement of all Jews and 35,000 Poles.

 

From the 29 November 1939 the Jews of Posen were ordered to wear the Star of David on their chests and a yellow armband on their sleeves. On the 11 December 1939 the Gestapo ordered the Jewish community to organise the assembly of all Posen’s Jews on Baltycka Street at eight o’clock the following morning.

 

They were placed in a barrack and had their baggage confiscated, the following day approximately 1,500 Jewish people were resettled in the GeneralGouvernement. The majority were deported to Ostrow Lubelski in the Lublin district, whilst others went to the larger cities of Warsaw and Lodz. Those who went to Ostrow Lubelski probably perished at the Belzec and Sobibor death camps.

 

Seven days after the deportation, the German Trust Office  finished the work of confiscating Jewish shops and businesses and on the following morning on the 20 December 1939 Dr Friemart drove to Dziekanka near Gniezno, where he supervised the killing of the Jewish and Polish patients at the mental hospital.

 

Work began on the conversion of the Stawna Street synagogue into a swimming pool, on the 15 April 1940 the Germans ceremonially removed the last Star of David from the building. The Jewish district had ceased to exist.

 

It was in Posen, in the town hall, that Heinrich Himmler the Reichsfuhrer-SS made his infamous speech to the higher echelons of the SS on the 4 October 1943, where he talked publically about the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe and the transfer of their property.

 

One of the higher SS leaders not present was Odilo Globocnik as the intercepted German police decode message revealed.

 

 After the war a Jewish community numbering 200 existed in 1946, but today there are very few Jews left in Poznan.

 

Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/othercamps/zabikowo.html

 

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

 

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2011



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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