The Jews in Wislica
Before the outbreak of World War II there were about 1,500 Jewish inhabitants in Wiślica. The extermination of the Jews in the then Busko County and the municipalities incorporated from Pińczów County began in September 1939. In 1939-1941 high monetary contributions were imposed on Jewish families, from whom also gold, valuables and expensive fabrics were extorted; laborers’ companies were formed, where people had to work in very difficult conditions.
Mutual help played a very important role among the Jews during World War II. In the interwar period, charitable activity was widely spread across the Polish territories among the followers of Judaism. The most important organizations at that time were the Health Protection Society (Towarzystwo Ochrony Zdrowia), the Orphans Care Society (Towarzystwo Opieki nad Sierotami), and the Child Care Society (Towarzystwo Opieki nad Dzieckiem). The societies formed a foundation for the Social Committee that was established in Warszawa after the war broke out. The Committee was led by Leon Neustadt and dr Michał Weichert, who coordinated the efforts aimed at helping the people who suffered from the effects of military activity. The Nazis renamed the Committee the Jewish Social Self-Help (Żydowska Samopomoc Społeczna). On November 4, 1940, a Committee of the ŻSS was called into being in Busko. Its president became Josek Topioła and its branches were formed in Chmielnik, Nowy Korczyn, Pacanów, Stopnica, Szydłów, and Wiślica.
Transports from small towns like Wiślica and large cities like Płock, from the Soldau camp, brought Jews to Wiślica in the winter of 1940/1941. At first they were sent to towns like Busko or Chmielnik, but many of the local Judenräte were not able to support such a great number of incoming Jews.
A ghetto was established in Wiślica in May 1941, but it was decidedly too small to meet the needs of the people gathered inside. Two thousand people were kept in 76 houses. Most of the houses in the Kielce Region were made of so called “płaczący kamień” (“weeping stone”, a type of rock which, according to legends, weeps) in the case of which it was normal that mold would develop and cause diseases. Indeed, in Wiślica this was a problem.
A difficult situation of the Jews was disagreements among themselves. The Wiślica ghetto was dissolved in October 1942. On October 3, 1942 the Jews from Wiślica were forced to march to Pińczów from where they were driven all the way along the road to Pińczów, and then to Treblinka.
The history of a centuries-long presence of the followers of Judaism in this town ended with the deportation of the Jews from Wiślica in October 1942.
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Updated 31 Dec 2010 by LA