Lomazy is located 11 miles south of Biala Podlaska and 66 miles northeast of Lublin and in August 1939, approximately 1,152 Jews resided there. A German army unit occupied Lomazy on 13 September 1939, but they quickly withdrew to allow the Soviets to occupy the village, as part of the Molotov- Ribbentrop pact. Tensions between Jews and Poles erupted during this time of Soviet occupation, which led to the deaths of two Jews and this prompted many Jews to flee to Parczew or Soviet controlled territory. The Germans re-occupied Lomazy on 15 October 1939, and they appointed Bronislaw Zdancewicz, the head of a local Polish collaborationist administration. A force of Polish (Blue) Police was recruited. The Polish administration and police were subordinated to German authorities in the Biala Podlaska Landkommissariat. In March 1942, Lomazy was transferred to the Wisznice Landkommissariat, then overseen by Landkommissar Klemmer.
Returning to 1939, the German authorities ordered the Lomazy Jews to form a Jewish Council (Judenrat), and this was chaired by Josel Sklarz, and a Jewish Police force was also established. From late 1939 the German authorities designated Lomazy to receive expellees from areas soon to be attached to the Reich, and by April 1940, 404 Jewish newcomers had arrived mainly from Jeleniewo, Serock, Suwalki, and Wisniowa Gora, near Lodz.A ghetto was established in early 1940, it was an open ghetto, not surrounded by a fence, but the Germans imposed a strict curfew. They forbade Jews from leaving their homes, except for work, to prevent them from trading or speaking with their Christian neighbours. An unknown number of Jews were evicted from their homes, mainly to make way for Polish –Christian deported from Kujawy and Pomorze. The Jews were concentrated in residences located on Malobrzeska Street, but other Jews continued to reside in their pre-war houses. Jewish residents of Szkolna, Wisznice and Kosciuszko Streets, moreover lived amid Polish-Christian neighbours, the beneficiaries of the Nazis anti-Jewish eviction policies. Because the process of establishing a ghetto was partial, Lomazy was excluded from a list of ghettos Hubert Kuhl, the Kreishauptmann of Biala Podlaska submitted in December 1941, to Richard Turk, the head of the Population and Welfare Department (BuF) for the Lublin District. Jewish officials of the Jewish Social Self-Help (JSS) also never used the word ghetto to describe living conditions in Lomazy. Instead, they mentioned restrictions from November and December 1941, which imposed the death penalty on Jews in Kreis Biala Podlaska found outside their places of registration without permission. A number of Lomazy Jews worked as domestic servants or as agricultural labourers for Polish –Christian farmers.
From the spring of 1940, the Luftwaffe drafted 112 Jews from Lomazy for a nearby construction project at an aircraft manufacturing plant near Biala Podlaska. In July 1940, another 107 Jews were sent to a labour camp established by the Biala Podlaska Water Regulation Authority in Szenejki, near the village of Studzianka village. Shortly after March 1942, the Szenejki inmates were forced to grind the gravestones from the Jewish Lomazy cemetery for nearly finished construction projects, including a bridge over the Zielawa River and a dyke. The Jews from Lomazy were also conscripted for local road improvement projects. On 2 May 1942, the local Polish administration received orders to prepare for the ‘resettlement’ of the Jews of Lomazy. Klemmer exempted 12 craftsmen and their families from deportation by ordering them transferred to Wisznice to work for the German civilian administration. After the SS retracted the resettlement orders, Bronislaw Zdancewicz, on 19 May 1942, ordered the establishment of a formal ghetto. The Judenrat paid more than 12,000 zloty to postpone the decree’s implementation for one year. Enraged because Zdancewicz had acted without proper authorisation, Landkommissar Klemmer demanded that the money should be turned over to the German administration. On 13 June 1942, Gendarmes from Wisznice and Slawatycze brought to Lomazy some 200 Jews from Rossosz, 250 from Opole-Podedworze, and another 200 from Slawatycze. Those expelled consisted mainly of women, children and the elderly.
On 22-23 July 1942, a unit from the Peasants Battalion, a Polish Underground group, raided the Polish (Blue) Police post, the local administration office, Bronislaw Zdancewicz’s home, and the dairy. A roving Gendarmerie unit retaliated the next day by shooting 30 Jews at the Szenejki camp. On 8 August 1942, an SS officer from Biala Podlaska arrested a number of Jews and these were shot dead near a shrine on the road to Biala Podlaska. After these raids, a succession of German police forces was stationed at the pre-war public school, including a 15-18 man squadron from the 2nd Company of Reserve Police Battalion 101 brought to liquidate the Jewish community on 13 August 1942. The day after arriving, the Germans pulled 30 Jews from their homes, forced them to perform hours of exhausting physical exercises in front of the administration building, and then executed the Jews at the Jewish cemetery. At 4.00 A.M. on 17 August 1942, the entire 2nd Company of Reserve Police Battalion 101, Gendarmes from Wisznice and Slawatycze posts, a small SS contingent from Biala Podlaska, and a contingent of Ukrainian SS from the SS Training camp at Trawniki began rousing Jews from their homes. As the policemen drove the Jews towards the school grounds, they shot dead those too old or frail to walk there unaided. Once assembled, the 2,187 Jews sat for hours waiting. Shortly after 7.00 A.M. a number of officials, including the deputy Kreishauptmann, the Wisznice Landkommissar and the chief of the Biala Podlaska Gestapo, arrived to breakfast with Poles from the local administration. After breakfast, the Biala Podaska SS chief asked Zdancewicz for shovels and the 1st August Jewish registration list. At the school, the police selected a labour brigade to dig three mass graves in the Haly Woods. After they were completed, the policemen of Reserve Battalion 101 marched the Jews in small groups to the edge of Haly Woods, where they were separated by sex and sent onto collection points to surrender their valuables and undress. They were driven from these collection points to the mass graves, where the victims were shot by the SS auxiliaries and members of the Reserve Police Battalion 101. Approximately 100 Jewish inmates from Szenejki also were executed at the same killing site. The inmates were brought there that same day to help dig the mass graves and to clear earth from three sides of the pits to fulfil a plan proposed by one of the policemen to facilitate the killing ‘Aktion.’ Baruch Goldszer, from Lomazy, and an inmate from Szenejki camp, was the only person to escape from the forest. A day after the killings, the German Reserve policemen still in Lomazy searched for Jews hiding in their homes. Some 20 to 30 Jews were found and they were held overnight in the school, before being marched to the forest by German reserve police and Polish (Blue) Police and executed. In the autumn of 1942, the Senejki camp’s remaining 32 Jewish inmates were shot dead. Only a handful of Jews from Lomazy, mainy those that had fled or escaped from labour camps survived the German occupation. Another 100 or so Lomazy Jews were repatriated from the Soviet Union after the war.
Sources:The Encyclopaedia of Camps and Ghettos 1933-1945, USHMM, Indiana University Press Bloomington and Indianapolis 2012
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