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Jewish Families of Będzin, Poland

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Będzin, Poland lies in the Silesian Highlands and belongs to historic Lesser Poland. It is one of the oldest towns of this province.

First mention of the village of Będzin comes from 1301, but a settlement (or a grod) had existed here since the 9th century, guarding ancient trade route from Kiev to Western Europe. In the 1340s, a town was founded here, with King Casimir III the Great building a stone strongpoint.

Jews of Będzin

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 1921 census 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.

Notable inhabitants

  1. Rutka Laskier, diarist (1929–1943)
  2. Jean-Marie Lustiger's parents
  3. Joshua Prawer, Israeli historian, founder of the crusader studies (1917–1990)
  4. Andrzej Kubica, former football player (1972- )[7]
  5. Janusz Gajos, actor (1939- )
  6. Grzegorz Dolniak, politician (1960–2010)
  7. Marcel Marceau's father Charles (1895-1944) deported from France and killed at Auschwitz
  8. Sam Pivnik, birthname Szmuel Piwnik, (1926-), Holocaust survivor and writer of the book Survivor: Auschwitz, The Death March and My Fight for Freedom
  9. Reb Mendel Rozenzaft
  10. The Artisans
  11. Bedzin Jewish Characters
  1. Będzin Ghetto
  2. A small town near Auschwitz: 70 years on