One thousand Piotrkow Jews
fleeing the German invasion are killed in nearby Sulejow
by German planes strafing
the town and
September 5, 1939
Germans invade Piotrkow
About 2,000 Piotrkow Jews
escape to the Soviet Union.
The Gestapo establishes a Judenrat,
headed by former vice president of the Jewish Council, Zalman
Tenenberg, a member of the Jewish socialist Bund
organization. Tenenberg surrounds himself with twenty-three co-workers, mostly party members,
some of whom had served on the Council before the war.
October 8, 1939
German Civil Commissar Hans Drexel
orders the establishment of a ghetto, the first in
October 28, 1939
The ghetto is established. Jews
are forced to leave their homes and move into the ghetto.
November 7, 1939
Jews from the Warthegau are
expelled to Piotrkow, among other cities.
November 29, 1939
Hans Drexel presents the Judenrat
with a decree demanding 350,000 zlotys. Three hostages are held until
payment is made. Later, more money and goods are demanded, impoverishing
December 13, 1939
Sixty-five Jews from Gniezno,
probably the last of the community, arrived in Piotrkow Trybunalski.
About 8,000 Jewish refugees
from neighboring towns and villages arrive, many from Warsaw,
its vicinity, Belchatow and Kalisz, in addition to those exiled to
Piotrkow by the Germans from the villages of Pomerania, Plock and Gniezno and their vicinities.
February 18, 1940
Two German sergeants seize and
rape two Jewish girls at the Jewish cemetery.
Some Jews are taken to two
nearby swamps and forced to dig ditches and canals. Many die of
pneumonia or tuberculosis. A census of the ghetto was taken. Nearly a
thousand men are gathered and sent to the Hrubieszow, Belzec, Dzikow,
Cieszanow and Plaszow labor camps.
A ransom is collected by the
Jewish community in exchange for the return of Piotrkow men in brutal
March 14, 1941
On March 4,
1941, 600 Jews from Drobin
are deported via Dzialdowo, arriving in Piotrkow Trybunalski ten days
later. Of the 600 Drobniner Jews who were brought to Piotrkow, only six
were alive at war's end.
June and July 1941
A Polish courier traveling on
behalf of the Bund's Central Committee is arrested. Underground
activities of the Bund are uncovered and members go into hiding. The
Gestapo arrests many Bund members and the Judenrat chairman,
Zalman Tenenberg, who is sent to Auschwitz and murdered. Szymon
Warszawski subsequently becomes Judenrat chairman.
September 13, 1941
Eleven members of the Judenrat
reach the end of two months of torture. One of them is Jacob Berliner,
who gives himself up after eluding capture.
November 17, 1941
Eight Jews are shot for
smuggling food into the ghetto.
Liquidation of the ghetto is
begun: about 1,000 Jews (including the sick) are shot and 22,000 Jews are deported from the ghetto to
Treblinka death camp and gassed, including Rabbi Lau, the last rabbi of
Piotrkow; 500 escape to forest nearby.
October 21, 1942
About 4,000 Jews remain in the
ghetto, about half of those
The Gestapo brings "illegals"
found in cellars and hiding places to the synagogue. They are sent to Tomaszów
Mazowiecki and deported to Treblinka together with the Jews of
November 19, 1942
One hundred "illegals," mostly
old people, are brought to the synagogue, then led away and shot in the
nearby Raków forest.
November 25, 1942
The Judenrat chairman
orders the "illegals" to register. A few days later, they are picked up
by the Jewish police, jailed in the synagogue and held without food
Yeshayahu and Tova Weinstock give themselves
up at the synagogue to exchange places with their children, who are
saved. Other acts of heroism occur to attempt to save Jews held in
December 19, 1942
Forty-two men are taken from
the synagogue and led to the Rakow forest. They are given spades and
shovels and ordered to dig five long ditches. The men are shot after a
struggle with the Germans, with a few escaping.
December 19-20, 1942
The Gestapo take Jews from the synagogue to the Rakow forest
in groups of fifty to be shot. Many are
killed near the synagogue attempting to escape. In the Rakow forest, a
total of 560
Jews are shot. The dead are buried in a mass grave together with the
wounded, a few of whom manage to dig themselves out.
March 21, 1943 (Purim 5703)
Massacre" to avenge
the ten sons of Haman occurs in Piotrkow. Jews living legally in the ghetto
are told that ten volunteers with university degrees are needed for an
exchange with German citizens living in the settlement of Sarona, in
Palestine. The chosen include: the lawyer Zilberstein (then Jewish Police
Commander) with his wife; pediatrician Dr. Maurycy Brams with his wife, 16-year-old daughter
(Hannah/Ania) and his sister-in-law; young lawyer Szymon Stein; psychiatrist Dr. Leon Glatter. They are driven around the
city until nightfall, then taken to the cemetery. SS officers and gendarmes
speeches, before ordering the Jews to undress and be shot.
end of July, 1943
The Nazis agree to permit 1,720
Jews to remain in the ghetto -- 1,000 of the near Bugaj and the rest in
the glass factories. They deport 1,500 "excess" Jews from the
small ghetto to camps in Bilzin, Pionki and Starachowice. The Nazis
separate children from their parents who are being sent to Bilzin; the
children are murdered with great cruelty.
August 1, 1943
Glass workers (about 720) are quartered near the glass works Kara and Hortensja
and woodworkers of the Bugaj camp (about 1,100) are housed in their barracks. The workers of the
"Shop"(needle trade) are shipped out to Blyzin. The "illegals"
The Nazis discover that more
than agreed number of Jews remain in Piotrkow. One hundred workers -- 91 men and 9
women -- are selected from the Bugaj and the glass factories and
deported to the Dietrich-Fischer wood factories in Tropau, Sudetenland.
None of the men survive and are last seen at the Berlin railroad
station, just before the collapse of the Nazi regime.
November 24, 1944
The last Jews in Piotrkow are deported:
and Mauthausen camps. Some inmates from the
Bugaj were directly evacuated to
Some prisoners are taken
to Czestochowa and unloaded. Of these, some male prisoners are taken to
Buchenwald or remain in Czestochowa, and women prisoners, with a some
young girls, are taken to Ravensbrück.
January 16, 1945
Piotrkow is liberated by the
Soviet Army. Jews who survive in Auschwitz,
Czestochowa, on the Aryan
side, return and register in the Gmina; most leave shortly after.
After liberation, Poles murder three
Jews who return to Piotrkow: the engaged couple, Sala Uszerowicz and
Lajzer Malc, and Mrs. Rachel Rolnik.
Dawidowicz, Lucy S. The War Against the Jews 1933-1945. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975.
Giladi, Ben, ed. A Tale of One City: Piotrkow Trybunalski. New York: Shengold Publishers in cooperation with the Piotrkow Trybunalski Relief Association in New York, 1991.
Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of the Holocaust. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1988
Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1985