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Bialystok Ghetto:
Liquidation of the Bialystok Ghetto

Yitzhak Arad


Bialystok Ghetto: Table of Contents | Ghettos | History & Overview


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"The Bialystok General District ... constituted an independent administrative district within the German regime in occupied Poland...

"During the first months of the German occupation ... the Jewish population ... suffered a wave of mass murders.... 31,000 Jews, mostly men, were shot by the Einsatzgruppen near their homes. On the eve of mass deportations to Treblinka and Auschwitz, in the autumn of 1942, there were about 210,000 Jews in the district, concentrated in ghettos. ...

"In the first half of October 1942, the Reich Security Main Office issued an order to local SS authorities in the Bialystok General District to liquidate all the ghettos in the district and deport the Jews. But after the intervention of the German army and German civilian authorities that employed Jewish labor in war­economy enterprises, it was decided that the liquidation of the Bialystok ghetto would be postponed. <1>

"The deportation of the Jews from the Bialystok district to Treblinka and, in part, to Auschwitz commenced after the deportation of most of the General Government Jews had been completed. It began in mid­October 1942, and continued until mid­February 1943. ... At the end of this period, only 30,000 Jews from the entire General District remained in the Bialystok ghetto."

"... in the summer of 1943, Himmler issued an order to Gauleiter Erich Kock, the head of the Bialystok General District, and to the local commander of the Security Police to liquidate the Bialystok ghetto and deport its inhabitants to the General Government. [Civilian and army authorities argued that the Jews were vital to the war economy]. But Himmler did not accept this argument. He order the immediate implementation of the deportation, and, as he no longer relied on the local German authorities, he entrusted the mission to the Operation Reinhard staff and the police forces subordinate to them. Globocnik personally came to Bialystok to coordinate the liquidation of the ghetto with the local German authorities. <2>

"The deportations were carried out on August 18­19, 1943. From Bialystok 7,600 Jews were sent to Treblinka. Some other transports were deported to Majdanek and Auschwitz. The final liquidation of the ghetto met with stiff resistance from the Jewish Underground, which fought back, and many Jews found their death inside the ghetto during this uprising. But the Bialystok ghetto, the last ghetto in the entire district, was finally liquidated. The total number of Jews from ... Bialystok who were deported and murdered in Treblinka came to about 118,000..."

[Excerpted from, Arad, Yitzhak. Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka-the Operation Reinhard Death Camps. Indiana University Press, 1987.]

Notes

Eisenbach, Artur, "Hitlerowski Polityka Zaglady Zydow," Warszawa, 1961, pp. 457­459.

Yad Vashem Archives, TR­10/1112, the Zimmerman trial, Band 1 (1­2), pp. 1­3, testimony of Otto Hellwig.


Source: The Nizkor Project

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