BorzęcinBorough of Borzęcin, Brzeski District, Małopolskie Voivodship
Type of placeThe edge of the forest and the field.
Information about the crime
In the late spring of 1942 in Borzęcin, the Nazis murdered 40-year-old Eliasz Reiss, his son Aaron Reiss, and an approximately 60-year-old Jewish woman who was in their house. The location of the grave was possible thanks to the witness’s precise indication.
The history of the murder is described by Jerzy Bratko in the book Dzieje Borzęcina. It was late spring when the Gestapo raided Eliasz Reiss’s house. Several Jews were hiding there. From among them, they chose Aaron, the son of Eliasz, and shot him. Jerzy Bratko describes this event as follows:
“One of the Gestapo officers went outside the house to find a suitable place for the execution. After a while, he called a senior officer, pointing to a place near the basement. Then Aron Reiss, taking advantage of the momentary inattention of the Gestapo men, jumped into the field and began to flee through the neighbors’ pens. The shooting and the chase of the escaped began. At the moment when Aaron was going to jump over the fence on Aleksander Kobyłecki’s property, he was injured. He squatted down, and when the Germans caught up with him, one of them put the barrel of a rifle to his head and shot, killing him on the spot.” (Bratko, 2008)
The Germans then returned to Reiss’s house. However, there was only Elijah and a woman (witness Jan B. – The Zapomniane Foundation; Kr 1/1312/2, Kr 1/1276).
The rest of the hiding Jews managed to escape taking advantage of the commotion. Meanwhile:
„The Gestapo officers took the old man and led him outside the barn, to Aleksander Kobyłecki’s ground. He went in front, but not holding back nervously. He said to the Gestapo men: „Come on… Come on…”, as if he was asking them to put him out of his misery of waiting for his death. After walking several hundred meters, behind the barn, they killed him with a shot to the back of the head. (Bratko, 2008)
The witness Jan B., who knows the incident from the stories told by his uncle and aunt and the neighbors on whose property the murder took place, also tells about the crime: “I was 7 years old, I remember that because I used to come here. My brother lived behind this outbuilding. [..] One German was standing with a gun on this road, and the other was standing on that road, by the river. It is not known who killed Aaron. […] Then he dragged the Jewish woman through the window and killed her. She sat there and lamented. They led Heszla [Eliasz Reiss] to the grave. He began to lament terribly. The German dragged him. They knew they were going to die.” (Borzęcin, February, 2020)
Contact and cooperation
We are still looking for information on the identity of the victims and the location of Jewish graves in Borzęcin. If you know something more, write to us at the following address: email@example.com.
Kr 1/1312/2, Information card, The Regional Commission for the Examination of German Crimes – Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow, 1972, Brzesko district.
Kr 1/1276, Information card, The Regional Commission for the Examination of German Crimes – Institute of National Remembrance in Krakow, 1968-1969, Bochnia and Brzesko districts.
Józef Bratko The History of Borzęcin 1939-1945, Borzęcin Borough Office: 2008, pp. 53-54.
Recording of the Zapomniane Foundation (audio file), Jan B., resident of Borzęcin, b. 1935 subject and keywords: Jewish graves in Borzęcin; exp. Aleksander Schwarz, Borzęcin February 25, 2020
We would like to thank the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Warsaw for funding the project “The future of our past. Searching, locating and commemorating the forgotten graves of Holocaust victims 2021”, which made it possible to prepare materials about this village.