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Jewish Families from Dukla, Poland

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from Dukla, Poland.

Gesher Galicia-Dukla

Wiki - Dukla

Battle of Dukla Pass


Dukla is a town and an eponymous municipality in southeastern Poland, in the Subcarpathian Voivodship. The town is populated by 2,127 people (02.06.2009) while the total population of the commune (gmina) containing the town and the villages surrounding it is 16,640. Dukla belongs to Lesser Poland, and until the Partitions of Poland it was part of Biecz County, Kraków Voivodeship.

The town lies on the Jasiołka river, at the foot of the Cergowa mountain (716 meters above sea level), in the Low Beskids. Dukla is located south of Krosno, along European route E371, which goes from Radom to Presov. The Dukla mountain pass is located in the Carpathians, a few kilometers south of the town, on the border with Slovakia and was a scene of a major battle in 1944.

Today a peaceful rural area on the Slovak Polish border, the Dukla Mountain Pass witnessed one of the biggest and most bloody battles of WWII on the Eastern Front -


Three months after the Allies landed in Normandy, on the other side of Europe burst a frantic battle between the Soviet Red Army supported by the Czechoslovak Corps and the defending German and Hungarian forces fortified in the Carpathian Mountains on the Slovak-Polish border.

The battle of Dukla Pass began in September 1944 and was planned to be a 5 days operation. Due to various reasons it changed into a 5 week long misery in the Carpathian Mountains. German and Hungarian defence led by Gotthard Heinrici contained about 100,000 soldiers, 2,000 artillery pieces and 350 tanks.

After the weeks of the fights stuck in mud, blood and fog the Germans were finally defeated and had to retreat. The price that had to be paid for this bitter victory of the Soviet and Czechoslovak armies was high – about 138,000 casualties on both sides in 50 days.



The first Slavic settlers appeared in the area of Dukla probably in the 5th or 6th century. It is not known which tribe settled here, and most probably Dukla belonged for some time to Great Moravia although it is not documented. Some time in the 10th century, Dukla was annexed by the early Polish state, ruled by the Polans. In the nearby village of Wietrzno there was a defensive gord, whose traces can still be seen.

The village of Dukla was first mentioned in documents from 1336. At that time, it was a private hands, belonging to the Suchywilk family. In 1373, Dukla received Magdeburg rights charter, and the town was part of Kraków Voivodeship. Dukla belonged to several noble families, such as the Cikowski, Ossoliński, Potocki, and Stadnicki. In 1474, the town was destroyed in a raid of Hungarian army of King Matthias Corvinus. In 1540, Dukla was purchased by Jan Jordan of Zakliczyn (Trąby coat of arms). The new owner expanded the Dukla Castle, and received from King Zygmunt Stary a privilege, allowing him to organize two fairs a year. Dukla remained in the hands of the Jordan family until 1600, and in 1595, King Zygmunt III Waza established here a customs office.

In the early 17th century, Dukla emerged as an important center of commerce, located on a trade route joining Poland with Hungary. The town had a defensive wall with two towers, and a town hall. Its merchants traded Hungarian wine, which at that time was very popular among Polish nobility.

On January 2, 1656, during the Swedish invasion of Poland, King Jan Kazimierz came to Dukla, on his way from Silesia back to the occupied country. One year later, on March 16, 1657, Dukla was destroyed and looted by Transylvanian army of George II Rakoczi and again destroyed by burning of the wooden houses in the Great Northern War.

Since 1742, Dukla belonged to Jerzy August Mniszech, who in 1750 married Maria Amelia Bruhl (the daughter of Heinrich von Bruhl). The Mniszechs competed with the Czartoryski family, which tried to turn their private town (Puławy in northern Lesser Poland) into the cultural capital of Poland (see also Izabela Czartoryska).

In May 1772, after a number of skirmishes, Dukla was captured by Austrian soldiers, which marked First Partition of Poland. The palace complex was used as military barracks, and Mniszech’s private army was forced into the Austrian Army. Dukla lost its significance, and was replaced by nearby Jasło as the biggest town of the area. The town declined after the epidemics of cholera (1865–1867, 1873–1876, 1884–1885). Furthermore, the construction of railroads missed Dukla, and the town still does not have a rail station.

In the Second Polish Republic, Dukla belonged to Krosno County of Lwów Voivodeship. In the spring of 1939, Border Protection Corps Battalion Dukla was formed, to protect Polish - Slovakian border.


End of the Jewish Presence

German occupation spelled the end of Jewish presence in the town, which dated back hundreds of years. In prewar Dukla, Jews were in the majority. // Germans opened here a ghetto, which was liquidated on August 13, 1942, when some 500 Jews were shot near the village of Tylawa. In 1940, the 1758 synagogue was burned.

In 1944, the Battle of the Dukla Pass took place here, after which 90% of the town was in ruins. After the war, Dukla belonged to Rzeszów Voivodeship, and in 1975 - 1999, to Krosno Voivodeship. On June 9, 1997, the town was visited by Pope John Paul II, who mentioned his visits to Dukla as a young priest, and talked in his sermon about one of the most famous residents of the town, John of Dukla, one of the patron saints of Poland and Lithuania.


The Battle for Dukla

In summer 1944, Slovaks rebelled against the Nazis and the Czechoslovak government appealed to Soviets for help. On 31 August, Soviet marshal Ivan Konev was ordered to prepare plans for an offensive to destroy Nazi forces in Slovakia.

The plan was to push through the old Slovak-Polish border in the Carpathian Mountains via the Dukla Pass near Svidník to penetrate into Slovakia proper.
In the meantime, however, the Germans had fortified the region, forming the Karpatenfestung ("Carpathian fortress") or Árpád Line.

The Soviet operation plan called for the Soviet forces to cross the pass and capture the town of Prešov within five days.


One of the biggest battles in the pass took place on and around Hill 534 in the northwest from the town of Dukla; the battle to capture this hill lasted from 10–20 September, and during that period the control of the hill changed more than 20 times.[5] The town of Dukla was seized on 21 September and took almost a month for the Soviet forces to reach Slovakia.

The Dukla operation did not end when the Soviets forced the pass. The combat zone shifted to Eastern Slovakia, with Soviet forces trying to outflank and push back the German forces, still strong and having many fortified positions. South of the pass and directly west of the village of Dobroslava lies an area which has come to be known as the "Valley of Death". A major German fortified position near the pass, Hill 532 "Obšár", would be secured as late as on 25 November 1944.


The Aftermath

In 1949, the Czechoslovak government erected a memorial and cemetery southeast of the Dukla border crossing, in Vyšný Komárnik, the first liberated village on the territory of (then) Czechoslovakia.

It contains the graves of several hundred Soviet and Czechoslovak soldiers. Several other memorials and cemeteries have also been erected in the region. In 1956, the football club ATK Praha changed their name to Dukla Praha (Dukla Prague) in honour of those who had fallen in the battle.