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Facing reality
The Gestapo was following the extermination plan of the Jews in Europe. In their master plan there was no place for so many productive Jews concentrated in the heart of Galicia. The Government-General in Krakow was behind the workshops and supported their existence but finally the Gestapo got the upper hand. On Friday evening, August 21st 1942 all the Jews of the Bochnia district were rounded up and on the following morning they were transferred to the Bochnia. All Polish peasants had to report with their horse-pulled wagons for duty. The local Jews with their belongings were loaded on the wagons and were transported to Bochnia. The convoy was guarded by Germans assisted by local Polish police forces. The entire Wisznica Jewish community (1,500 people) were transferred to ghetto Bochnia along with Jews from the village of Breshnov (Brzeznica), Kopalina (TST1-5/TST5-7)) and from other villages with smaller Jewish communities. Thousands of Jews in long convoys of horse-drawn wagons came flocking into ghetto Bochnia. They were ordered to move to Bochnia where they were promised housing in apartments (DTS-156). The Jews came with their children and elders and brought with them all of what was left of their possessions. The convoy was directed to the railroad station where all the people were settled "temporarily" in large barracks. It was quite obvious that the new coming influx of Jews was destined for extermination. The Bochnia ghetto was already populated above its capacity and vacating a living space for this huge crowd was unfeasible. The temporary shelter near the train station just made it easier to transport all the members of the convoy on short notice. While passing through the narrow streets of the ghetto many Jews jumped off the wagons in spite of the guards assigned to the convoy. They blended into the ghetto crowd and found shelter with local Jewish families. On Saturday August 22 the Germans drafted peasants 18 to 25 years of age from Nw. Wisnicz. They were drafted to what the Germans called "bau-dienst" - construction crew. About 100 to 150 young gentiles had to dig a large grave pit in the woods near the village of Bochkov (10 km north of Bochnia).

The large scale relocation of Jews into Bochnia by the Nazi's authorities caused panic in the ghetto. Concentration of all the Jews of the district into the central ghetto was always a sign for a large scale expulsion (see page .....................). On the next day the district governor of Krakow arranged for food distribution and housing arrangements for the new refugees. These arrangements calmed down the fear in the hearts of the Jewish community of Bochnia. Unfortunately it was just an act of deception orchestrated by the Gestapo. The manager of the Government-General's affiliated textiles company, came to the ghetto with new production orders. He reassured ghetto Bochnia's residence that in spite of the large scale extermination process that was conducted in the area, the local community would be spared. However, only a few days later, on August 25 1942 a mass expulsion was carried out.

Like in many other ghettos, the Jews of Bochnia received advanced warning of an impending Aktion by people with connections to the SS. The people in the ghetto were informed of the special train that pulled into the station and realized for whom it was designated. In spite of all this, most of the Jewish population of Bochnia still believed that they would survive this ordeal. The large number of Jews employed in the workshops felt secure due to their productive contribution to the war efforts. The local Jews also knew


that the first people to go on the pending transport would be the Jews from the district surrounding Bochnia. It was just natural that the Judenrat would send on a transport the non local Jews first. These Jews were not employed in any "productive work" and had no ties to the local Judenrat. This kind of pattern (sending the non local Jews on the first transport) was recorded in other ghettos like Przemysl, Rzeszow and more. However the intended candidates for deportation were fully aware of the situation. They hid in bunkers, in non- Jewish friends houses, in the forests and in the fields. They all realized what is awaiting them in Bochnia and therefore attempted to avoid being transferred there. The Jewish families in the Bochnia district knew that they would not be able to hold on hiding for a long time. Nevertheless a few days were all that was needed to save their lives. After the completion of the anticipated Aktion in Bochnia, it would have been quite safe to move into the ghetto. Some Bochnia residents managed to escape to other surrounding villages for the duration of the Aktion and many others hid themselves in bunkers. Certain German employers hid their employees with their families in their workshops until the end of the Aktion (TST7-2). Due to this situation many local people, including residence with workers permits, were taken on August 25 for extermination.

Ghetto Bochnia was surrounded by a 7 foot high fence. This fence separated the ghetto from the "Aryan" section of the city but it did not present a deterrent form escaping. Any person, even an elderly women, could (and actually did) remove boards from the fence and flee out of the ghetto. People remained in the ghetto due to lack of other alternatives. However during an aktion, facing a threat of immediate death, the fence alone was not going to stop them trying to save themselves. For this reason, when the Nazis conducted an aktion in a ghetto they used to surround it with armed personnel as the first step. Most of their personnel was assigned to seal the ghetto while a relatively smaller force was conducting the roundups and the selection from within.

The extermination commission of the Gestapo came from Krakow and the Aktion began while the workshops were in full production of the new large order which had been recently received. The commission task was to determine how many people out of every sector should be expelled for extermination. They were followed shortly after by the storm troopers, the German gendarmerie and the Ukrainian auxiliary police that executed these quotas. The execution forces surrounded the ghetto to ensure that no one would escape. The Jews within the ghetto were acting upon a false sense of security. The employees in the workshops did not even consider the possibility of hiding or escaping since in their perception the worker's certificate ensured their existence.


The first Aktion
The first aktion took place over three days, from Tuesday to Thursday (August 25 to 27). Prior to the aktion all the vital ghetto residents obtained a special stamp on their ouswice allowing them to remain in the ghetto. All other people in the ghetto (the majority) had to report to the kasserna by 8 o'clock in the morning of August 25. At first all the Jews from Nw. Wisnicz were rounded up and were taken away. Right after that the Einsatzgrupprn assisted by the Jewish police were pulling the residents out of their homes. Those who were unwilling or unable to follow their orders were shot in front of their families. The streets of the ghetto were packed with people, old and young women and children, all moving through the streets carrying their luggage. It was a scary sight. (TST5-7).

Workers were taken straight from the workshops and whole streets in the ghetto were emptied. There was no rule in the method of selection. All kinds of people were taken at random. Even Jews with special permits issued by the SS allowing them to stay in the ghetto were taken away. The shortage of deportees was so severe that policemen had to bring their own parents, wives and children to fill the deportation quota. Many old and sick people were shot during the search conducted in the ghetto by the Gestapo. The number of people murdered in the ghetto during this Aktion is estimated by the hundreds. Many buildings within the ghetto looked like slaughterhouses with their walls all splattered with blood. Garments and talleisim9 were scattered in the streets. Religious Jews waited for their death wearing their prayer shawls.

The people were taken to a gathering place (apellplatz) where the SS performed a selection. The children, the aged and the sick were marked to death. The physically fit were supposedly marked for hard labor. The first group with numerous elderly people, women and children were taken by trucks to the nearby village of Bochkov. All the patients of the Jewish hospital together with all the Jewish patients in the general hospital were taken there as well. Upon arrival they were all (1,200 people) machine gunned and their bodies were thrown into a large pit that had been prepared ahead of time for that purpose. The Germans buried them in this mass grave while many were still alive10 . The able-bodied people were marched in military formation to a waiting train. At the train station they were crammed into freight cars, one hundred people per car. By the train stood SS men and were tearing the children from their parents arms by their hands and feet. Every child was thrown with his head at the train and their heads broke into pieces. The mothers had to observe what was happening (TST4-8). The able-bodied people were shipped to Belzec death camp where all of them were murdered by means of carbon monoxide poisoning in gas chambers. Please refer to the Belzec appendix.

After the deadline the police took all the remaining people in the ghetto to the Judenrat building. There they had to present their special permits approved by the Gestapo. The Judenrat President informed the survivors that they had to pay extortion money. The very few people that were left in the ghetto were requested to pay for their right to survive (TST5-8). In a cynical way people called it shechita gelt (slaughter money), as if they were requested to reimburse the murderers for their expenses performing the aktion.
9 - Talleisim - prayer shawls (Hebrew)

10 - The aussiedlung in Wieliczka and in Bochnia took place simultaneously. Both were orchestrated by the same Nazi headquarters in Krakow and both were extremely similar in their method of execution. The description in TST10-15 of the murder of Jews in the woods near Grodkowice more than likely resembles the Murder of the Jews from Bochnia near the village of Bochkov.


In the ghetto people hid anywhere they could, even under their beds. Those who prepared a hiding place ahead of time had a better chance for survival. As a matter of fact a large number of Jews did take shelter in hiding places which had been prepared for this situation. In the meantime the Jewish police using bullhorns announced that all people going voluntarily on the transport will end up in a labor camp and all people caught in hiding will be shot (TST1-7/DTS-166). Many Jews taking this announcement at face value came out of their hiding and joined the transport voluntarily. People went to the train hoping that in this way they were saving their lives but instead they made the task of the Nazi murderers a lot easier. More then 5,000 human beings young and old were sent to Belzec death camp by train never to be returned. German-patrols were searching the houses and all the people that were found without legitimization were systematically shot (TST5-8). On the last day of the Aktion the Town's Rabbi (Rabbi Halberstam) was taken to the courtyard and was murdered with his wife.

Almost the whole Judenrat was taken to Belzec on the last transport. The fact that Judenrat members joined the transport convinced many people that it was safe. At that time the Nazis were sticking to their stories about sending people to new settlements in the East. Such an action came to reinforce their claim(TST6-4,5). Sala Grayver was shot to death by the SS on the first day of the Aktion. The German chief of labor in Bochnia was an SS man. Grayver did not pay any attention to him counting on his close contacts with the Wehrmacht headquarters in Krakow . During the Aktion when Grayver realized that his workers were going to be sent on a transport, he tried to call the Wehrmacht for help and as a result he was immediately executed. Upon completion of the expulsion quota the Bochnia ghetto was sealed off. The gates were guarded, armed German guards were posted on watchtowers and no one could leave without special permission. The general consensus in the ghetto was that the people who were shipped on the transport were taken to a labor camp. No one could believe the extent of cruelty that the Nazis were capable of. After the transport had left, local Poles discovered notes thrown by the victims and delivered them to the ghetto (TST1-7). One letter written by a deportee from Bochnia that was sent from Belzec death camp was received in ghetto Bochnia. This letter described the murder of all the people on that transport (TST7-3). Rumors started to circulate of people who were shipped to be killed. Still many people refused to face the horrible reality.

The big Aktion of August 1942 left ghetto Bochnia with about a thousand people and aside from them there were 400 more Jews that managed to hide from the Germans. As the rumor about the completion of the Aktion in ghetto Bochnia started to spread around, thousand of Jews from the close vicinity began to arrive at the ghetto. All the Jewish families in the small communities, that hid before the big Aktion, knowing very well that they will be the first ones to be selected, came now out of hiding. The chief Gestapo officer in Bochnia - Schomburg, published a special permit for all the arriving Jews and those who came out of hiding allowing them to live in ghetto Bochnia. All the workshops were reopened. The local council sold the whole operation (including their Jewish workers) to a few German officers that ran the workshops as a private business. The number of Jews residing in Bochnia grew to 8,000 and the number of Jews employed in the workshops swelled to 3,000 workers. From December 1942 every Jewish worker became the property of the SS. The new workshop owners had to pay the SS for the Jewish slave labor they required (5 zlotys per person a day). (TBB-193)


Following the big Aktion of August 1942 the Gestapo in Bochnia declared that the local Jewish community does not exist any more. The Bochnia ghetto changed its status to a "labor camp". Oberstrumfuhrer Muller11 was nominated as the new Lagerfuhrer. That change made the existence of children within the ghetto boundaries illegal. Parents had to hide their children from view since there was no place for them in a labor camp.

Rakowitz Labor Camp
On September 24, 1942 the Germans conducted a round-up in ghetto Bochnia (TST5-8,9/DTS-171). The Germans assisted by Jewish Ordnungsdienst arrested able-bodied men that could not produce worker's permits (proof of employment). The police were searching all over the ghetto. Some people took refuge in bunkers. The police used dogs in their search and discovered some of them. They too were added to the transport. A group of 100 men was held over night in the Judenrat building at the basement jail, and on the next morning (September 25)12 was shipped off by two trucks guarded by Jewish police to Rakowitz labor camp. The Rakowitz labor camp (Lager) was located at the outskirts of the town of Rakowitz, near Krakow. It was a heavily guarded military airfield surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. All slave labor was executed by Jewish prisoners from nearby ghettos, supervised by Polish camp police. Work included hard labor jobs in construction, sewerage, building a concrete runway and more. While slaving at their work the prisoners received lashings and clubbing. In the camp there was continuous deafening noise of the planes taking off and landing at the air strip. The inmates accommodation area was enclosed with a barbed wire fence and had a German guard at the gate. The camp police were residing in the same area in a separate barracks. A cattle barn was used as residence barracks for the inmates. There were a few barred windows and no electric light (pitch-dark). The prisoners slept on burlap bags filled with wood shavings. Periodically, due to a lack of proper facilities, the inmates were taken to the Krakow ghetto for a bath. Food intake consisted of cold black coffee for breakfast disgusting watery soup and a slice of bread for lunch a piece of dark bread and a cup of water for dinner. In their barracks and at work the prisoners were watched continuously by Jewish and Polish guards. There was a group of Jewish workers from ghetto Krakow which was transported by trucks every morning into Rakowitz labor camp and returned back to the ghetto in the evening. During the winter of 1942 after the work assigned for the camp's inmates was completed the camp was dissolved and all its Jewish prisoners were sent for extermination (possibly Auschwitz).

The Auslaenders
The Nazi's rule forcing Jews to reside inside the ghetto boundaries applied to all Jews with Polish citizenship. This rule did not apply to Jews with foreign citizenship. Jews that had proof of foreign citizenship had to have it approved by Schomburg, the SS commander of Bochnia. Once their document was approved the Jews were allowed to move out of the ghetto and reside in the "Aryan" part of Bochnia. Relocation outside the ghetto had a lot
11 - Muller was tried in the Nuremberg trials as a war criminal.

12 - According to DTS-171 the transport to Rakowitz took place one day before the holiday of Sukkos. Sukkos 1942 came on September 26.


of advantages. In addition to the freedom to move about in the district, the Jews were safe from the periodical extermination aktions that took place in the ghetto. The auslaenders (foreign citizens) enjoyed a better standard of living since they could purchase all kind of food and other articles without restrictions. They also did not have to reside in the crowded conditions like their friends inside the ghetto.

Schomburg was very lenient in his method of verifying the authenticity of the documents presented to him. It seems that the monitory aspect of the approval was at the top of his priority list. Schomburg approved legitimate documents as well as forged one without asking too many questions. Every official Gestapo stamp on these documents provided him with $50 to $100. Many people that heard of Schomburg's leniency took advantage of the situation. In the process of obtaining such a document every applicant had to use people with connections who also profited from this process. A lot of money was changing hands until a person could find himself "legally" outside the ghetto. The auslaenders' community in Bochnia was not very big but it was noticeable enough to raise some eyebrows in the Nazi's headquarters in Krakow. Later on Schomburg was warned to stop approving so many applications. Many auslaenders were arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo in Krakow and the majority of them were executed. In addition to the auslaenders who lived outside the ghetto there were many Jews who obtained forged foreign documents with forged stamp of the Gestapo. These documents obviously were much cheaper than the ones with the official Gestapo stamp. However the people who obtained them kept residing inside the ghetto and kept them only for possible escape purposes.

The auslaenders' community was instrumental in maintaining contact between the ghetto residents to the outside world or to other ghettos. They helped by bringing different commodities into the ghetto and by that extended the ability of the local Jews to survive. They provided refuge to small children from the ghetto during extermination aktions (children were the first to go in any selection) and later on were active in arranging and running escape routes from Bochnia to Czechoslovakia and Hungary (TST3-8/ TST7-3/TST11-3/DTS-239,240).

The second Extermination Aktion
On November 10, 1942 a second Aktion took place. All the ghetto residents had to come to the appellplatz for selection. The officials of the Judenrat and the high ranking Nazi officers in charge of the preparation for the selection predicted a mild auschidelung. The planned number of deportees for the second aktion was supposed to be relatively small. However with the horrors of the first auschidelung still in their mind, most of the people did not want to take a chance with their lives. A large number of ghetto residents took refuge in hiding places and some even managed to flee the ghetto temporarily to other ghettos in the close vicinity. The ghetto authorities that learned their lesson from the first Aktion did not take any chances either. Workers that were labeled vital for the operation of the workshops were taken by trucks with their families outside the ghetto for the duration of the Aktion that lasted two days. According to DTS-204 most of the ghetto population was transported to death camps in open freight cars, while hundreds of people were killed at


random. At TST11-2,5 there is an indication of 1780 people that were spared from this selection. Regardless of how we look at it this aktion ,which intended to be milder, turned out to be a massive one. Once it started the bloodshed proceeded beyond control. The amount of deportees grew to more than half of the ghetto residence. This time the Nazis did not even bother to take the sick people from the hospitals to an execution ground. Instead they shot and killed them in their beds. (TST7-2) The Einsatzgruppen searched vigorously for Jews concealed in bunkers. Every person that was discovered in a hiding place was shot on the spot. The streets were red with victims' blood. Human bodies and body parts were scattered everywhere (DTS-204).

A short time after the second Aktion the Jewish population of ghetto Bochnia grew again until it reached about 5,000 people. In order to understand the phenomena of constant growth of the ghetto's population one must comprehend the Einsatzgruppen method of operation. This group of professional murderers numbering a few hundred people used to attack one population center at a time. Desperate Jewish families used to escape from one ghetto to another in attempt to avoid pending extermination. Since the Bochnia ghetto maintained its existence while many Jewish communities had vanished, it became the escape destination for many refugees (DTS-234,235). Another reason for ghetto Bochnia to be chosen as a preferred location was its SS commander. The Gestapo chief in Bochnia SS commandant Schoemburg, a 60 year old German, gave decent treatment to the Jews of Bochnia and did not show any anti-Semitic behavior. However when the order came to liquidate the ghetto he was very compliant.

Ghetto Bochnia as a Labor Camp
Muller, the new Lagerfuhrer decreed that all men and women alike would have to work in the workshops. He ordered to divide the ghetto into two sections. The able bodied people with workers' permits would be located in ghetto "A" and the non-able bodied, the elderly, the disable, the children and all people without a worker certificate would be located into ghetto "B". Many people had to relocate from one side of the ghetto to the other in order to comply with the new decree. A dividing fence was erected and Jewish police were stationed along the fence to enforce the separation and to prevent crossing over. Ghetto "A" consisted of: Kowalska Street, Niecala, Kraszewska, and Bracka while ghetto "B" consisted of: Galasa-Piotra, Pod-Lipka, Leonarda and part of Krzeczowska Street. The meaning behind this division of the ghetto was obvious. The Jews in Bochnia realized that residency in ghetto "A" gave them hope for survival and the residence of ghetto "B" were doomed. However Muller allowed the families of workers to reside with them in the ghetto of the living (ghetto "A"). As expected every person without a job was lining in front of the Judenrat office in hope of employment. Desperate people paid heavy prices with their last money to acquire the right to work. Entire families had to relocate to new apartments within the ghetto before the dividing fence was sealed. In many cases members of different families had to reside in the same apartment. The ghetto's hospital was located in ghetto "A" and in ghetto "B" there was only a clinic that operated two hours a day. The Germans tightened the security around ghetto "A" while the security in ghetto "B" remained unchanged.


Muller organized the labor force into three divisions. Wehrmacht- the arm forces, Rustung - weapon's industry and Zwangsarbeit - forced labor. The workers had to wear in addition to their Jewish identification armband (on the right arm) a white worker patch on their left arm. The new patch carried the letter "W" for Wehrmacht, "R" for Rustung and "Z" for Zwangsarbeit. The white patch enabled the police to identify the person as a worker and help workers to be spared during the frequent selections. A new industrial plant for one thousand workers was opened. When all the new positions had been filled the Lagerfuhrer took additional measures to convert ghetto "A" into a full fledged labor camp. All husbands and wives were forbidden to live under the same roof and were allowed to see each other for two hours a day. Ghetto "A" was divided into a camp for men and a camp for women which necessitated a new relocation of inmates within the camp. Private cooking facilities were forbidden and all workers had to use the communal dining room. A few houses in ghetto "B" were converted to children's homes to care for children whose parents were employed in ghetto "A". Nevertheless, parents and relatives of small children kept hiding them in ghetto "A". People did not elude themselves about the meaning of these children's homes. The great compassion of the Nazis toward Jewish children was well known. It was quite obvious that placing children in these homes would single them out for extermination (DTS- 232). The sale and exchange activities of articles with the Poles on the other side of the fence was still in existence but on a reduced scale. People approaching the ghetto's fence were facing the possibility of being shot by the German guards in the observation posts. Due to that risk people used brokers13 for the execution of all transactions. The residence of ghetto "B" hardly got any food. The people without money were facing severe starvation. During one hour a day, from 12 noon to 1 PM the residence of ghetto "A" were allowed to go and visit in ghetto "B". At that time people from ghetto "A", used to share their meager food rationing with some of the less fortunate (TST11-4,5). The life in ghetto "A" was very hectic. All workers had to be present for the morning roll call on Kowalska St. and then were marched to work five abreast in a German military formation. Coming home in the evening they collapsed exhausted from their intensive hard work. The life in ghetto "B" was calm and undisturbed. People woke up late and were socializing, attending prayer services and conducting their lives without thinking of the inevitable.

Underground Operation
Prior to the war there were a few Zionist youth organizations active in Bochnia. The most established organization in town was the Hebrew Youth Movement Akiba. This organization was active in Bochnia since 1932 (and even earlier as a general Zionist youth organization) and was also the most prominent youth Zionist organization over the whole Galicia region. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, the Akiba members organized an underground movement JWO (Jewish Warring Organization) which united within it other political streams as well. The center of the underground operation was in the city of Krakow. The Akiba movement branch in Bochnia was operating in correlation with the headquarters of the JWO in Krakow and some JWO leaders were residing temporarily in Bochnia or taking refuge there. The Hachshara center in Bonarka that was
13 - A few Jews used to act as brokers and risk their lives for a small fee.


used as a cover for a weapon's training center during the war for the JWO, was located near Bochnia. The Bochnia region was chosen as the refuge location for all the remaining JWO members after the anticipated Cyganeria operation. Bunkers were dug in the woods near Bochnia for that purpose and plans for continuation of armed resistance from there were drawn. However after the capture of most of the warriors, following the Cyganeria operation, the Bochnia region become the only JWO center of armed resistance left.

Akiba members in Bochnia took part in the underground movement from the very beginning of its formation. Dolek Libeskind and Gola Mirra, from the leaders of JWO, pay visits to Bochnia and a constant contact was maintained by messengers (PHV3-68). From November 1942 the Bochnia underground Akiba cell was located in ghetto "B" (TST10-15). The operation of the Bochnia cell was documented in The Justina Diary and the document was hidden at the Montelupich prison in Krakow in April 1943. Unfortunately the part of the document covering the Bochnia operation got lost (JD-134). We do know however some details about its activities from other sources.

We are aware of underground activities in Bochnia from 1940 (TST1-3). Money and unknown articles (possibly false ID documents and weapons) were shipped from Krakow to Bochnia by messengers who used freight trains for transportation. After the Bochnia ghetto formation we know of recruitment of new members to the JWO within the ghetto residence. We also know of Aryan papers given to the underground members which enabled them to move freely outside the ghetto or to escape during an aktion (DTS-212). After November 1943 the underground cell members resided in ghetto "B" since they did not make any attempt to obtain work and as a result were not considered as productive Jews. They maintained contacts with Polish underground organizations. In the summer of 1942 the group dug a large underground bunker as a means of survival during an aktion. This bunker was camouflaged very well and was equipped with wooden bunks. The cell members had a plan to dig a tunnel from their residence under the ghetto wall to the Aryan side of town but it did not materialize. Some of the JWO's members from Krakow escaped after December 22 to Bochnia and found refuge there. We know of a young lady, an Akiba member, who resided on the Aryan side of Bochnia (possibly as an auslaender). She was taking care of Jews who were hidden in a bunker and (she) was killed in Bochnia on April 1943 (JD-148). The underground cell in Bochnia was discovered and most of its members were captured (TST10-15).

It was on Friday night February the 26, 1943 (DTS-207,212)14 . The Jewish police locked them in the Judenrat prison in two separate cells (for men and women) and the JWO's members were interrogated through the whole night by Simchah Shapiro, the head of the Krakow district Jewish police. Savage beatings were inflicted on them in attempt to force them to reveal the names of other JWO members. At 8 o'clock Saturday morning (the next day)
14 - According to JD-117 the bunker was discovered on March 13, 1943. In JD-134 it is mentioned that the JWO members from Bochnia were locked in the common prison cell on the same day. It is possible that the prisoners had been kept in isolation before joining their friends in cell 15. In JD-117 it is indicated that political prisoners were kept on the ground level of the prison for 2 to 3 weeks before being put in the common cell. The difference of timing (February 26 to March 13) fits this pattern perfectly.


they were taken by bus and were delivered to the hands of the Germans. Most of the prisoners perished but some survived the war. They were transferred to the Montelupich prison in Krakow where they were investigated and tortured by the Nazis. We know of three girls from this group that were put in Justina's cell on March 13. These three girls told Justina about the activities of the Bochnia's JWO cell and she documented it in her diary. We probably will never know what was said in this chapter of the diary that got lost. I can only speculate that since it was written in the same chapter which covered the Cyganeria operation it more than likely revealed offensive operations in Bochnia. The only information we know of is dealing with recruitment and the preparation for the pending aktion. We also know that after the execution of the Cyganeria operation (on December 22, 1942) Bochnia became the center of JWO operation in Galicia.

The JWO commander responsible for the Bochnia - Wisnicz area was Hillel Wodislawski. Hillel was also a member of the JWO headquarters. On February 26 he was out of the bunker and was saved. The Bochnia cell did not cease to exist and in May 1943 when Shimshon Deringer and Gusta Davidson (Justina) escaped to Bochnia they gave them refuge. A short time after that the JWO's leaders were transferred to a bunker in the woods near Bochnia. From there the JWO kept its armed struggle for quite some time. Until the liquidation of ghetto Bochnia the warriors in the forests maintained contact with the Bochnia cell15 . For more details about Akiba and the JWO operation in Krakow and Bochnia please refer to the Akiba appendix.
15 - Dr. Fefercorn from Toronto (who specialized in the history of the JWO) told me that according to JWO’s survivors testimonies the printing of the underground newspaper took place inside ghetto Bochnia.


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