On the Road to Krakow: Searching for the massacred and erased Jewish Quarter of the medieval town of Bedzin, Poland. @MonicaCrowly. Malcolm Hoenlein
(Photo: Bedzin Castle )
On the Road to Krakow: Searching for the 1939 massacred and erased Jewish Quarter of the medieval town of Bedzin, Poland. @MonicaCrowly. Malcolm Hoenlein
Until World War II, Będzin had a vibrant Jewish community. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 21,200, Jews constituted 10,800 (around 51% percent). According to the Polish census of 1921 the town had a Jewish community consisting of 17,298 people, or 62.1 percent of its total population. In September 1939, the German Army (Wehrmacht) overran this area, followed by the SS death squads (Einsatzgruppen), who burned the Będzin synagogue and murdered 200 Jewish inhabitants. A Będzin Ghetto was created in 1942. Eventually, in the summer of 1943, most of the Jews in Będzin were deported to the nearby German concentration camp at Auschwitz. Since Będzin was one of the last Polish communities to be liquidated, there are a relatively large number of survivors from there, and an extensive collection of their personal photographs were recovered, offering photographic insight into the pre-war life there.