MiastkowoBorough of Miastkowo, Łomża District, Podlaskie Voivodship
Type of placeA forest called Cendrowizna
Information about the crime
In the case files of the crimes committed by German military policemen from Miastkowo, Łomża District (S 164/69) there are descriptions of the following events that took place in Miastkowo:
- In the summer of 1942 in the forest near Miastkowo a man of an unknown name was murdered. He was of Jewish nationality, about 40 years old, a doctor by occupation and came from Łomża. Also, his wife and their child were murdered.
A testimony of Stanisław S. (S 164/69, 4 January 1973):
“It was in the winter of 1943. I saw them being led to the forest. There were three military policemen. […] There were also three Jews: a man of an unknown name, a woman and a child about 7 years old. As far as I remember, the child was a girl. The man was about 40, the woman about 30 years old. I heard they had been hiding in the forest. The military policemen took them to the police station and after a short interview they took them to the Cendrowizna forest and shot them there.”
A testimony of Wacław B. (S 72/67, 27 January 1973):
“Personally, I saw only an execution of people of Jewish nationality. Two adult [people] and one child – a boy. I found out they were doctors who escaped the Jewish ghetto in Łomża and were hiding in the village. They were taken to the police station in Miastkowo. It was in the second half of June. Two military policemen led the aforementioned people in the direction of the Cendrowizna forest. The adults had their hands tied together and the child was running. […]. One military policeman carried a spade and the other one a rifle. […] I saw them placing the Jews in front of the old trenches. They shot one person in the back of the head and because they were tied together, the first person pulled the other one and both fell into the ditch. Then [the policemen] shot again to finish them off. I mostly remember the child’s attempt to escape. One of the military policemen shot him like a hare. Then he took the child by the leg, pulled him towards the ditch and threw him in.”
The same witness described it again in these words:
„It was in the summer od 1942 or 1943 when I saw German military policemen from the police station in Miastkowo shooting a Jewish family. I don’t remember the exact date. It was in the evening. I was passing Jan D.’s outbuildings. He told me that a moment earlier German military policemen led people to the Cendrowizna forest, probably to shoot them. I went to the forest through the field to save time.
I stopped about 100-200 metres from the edge of the forest. I saw military policemen in the forest. I didn’t know their names but I recognised their faces. That’s why I could say they were from the police station in Miastkowo. The military policemen were leading three people: a man, a woman and a child. I heard later – I can’t remember from whom – that the man was a doctor from Łomża. The woman was apparently his wife. The child was about 7 years old. The military policemen stopped them at the ditches and placed them facing the ditches. Then they placed themselves several steps away. One of the military policemen shot the man. After that, the man fell into the ditch. The woman fell into the same ditch. She must have been tied to the man. The military policeman shot several times more towards the place where the woman had fallen. The child who was standing by the ditch, ran away screaming. He ran 20 or 30 metres and got shot. The other military policeman chased the child and pulled him towards the ditch were bodies of the murdered adults had been. Then he commenced burying the bodies with the spade he brought with him. I saw the military policeman who had conducted the execution lit a cigarette while his colleague was burying the bodies. […] Apparently the ditches had been there since the Great War and served as trenches. […] The shot man was about 40 years old, medium height and slim. The woman was shorter and also slim.” (7 August 1974, S 164/69)
A testimony of Jan D. (S 164/69, 22 August 1973):
“I don’t remember the exact date but I think it was in July or August 1942 when military policemen from the police station in Miastkowo shot a Jewish married couple with a child in the Cendrowizna forest. I don’t know the names of these Jews. I heard that the man was a doctor from Łomża. He was about 32 years old. His wife was of a similar age. Their child – a son – was about 5 years old. […] I saw these Jews being led from the direction of Miastkowo towards the Cendrowizna forest. […] Several minutes after the group entered the forest I heard gunshots. I guessed that the Jews had been shot. After a few shots coming from the forest I heard the child screaming which confirmed my speculations. After the scream I heard one more shot. There was no more screaming. I guessed then that the last shot killed the child. I heard that the Jews were shot next to the trenches that had been in the forest. That was where the military policemen buried the bodies.”
On 15 July 2015 we conducted a site inspection of the place where the doctor from Łomża and his family were killed. The place was pointed to us by an eyewitness, Edward B. He described what he witnessed: “They walked through here. There was no other way to the trenches. They were war trenches. They were narrow but deep. [..] They [the Jews] were led with their heads down and their kid was bouncing around like a puppy because he didn’t know where they were going. I watched it all from here. The bastard shot them. I still feel hostile. I don’t greet anyone from this family if I meet them.”
- In the summer of 1942 or 1943 on the Cendrowizna range near Miastkowo, Łomża District two unknown men of Jewish nationality were murdered.
Henryk R. observed the event:
“One afternoon I saw two military policemen [from the police station in Miastkowo] leading two men. They were walking them to a forest called Cendrowizna. These men were middle aged Jews. […] At that time, I was walking in the opposite direction. I saw the Jews carrying spades. The group entered the forest and I saw the Jews digging a hole. I was about 200-300 metres away from them. Because the Jews were digging the hole at the edge of the forest, I could see them. At some point I must have turned away because I heard gunshots coming from the direction of the place where the hole was being dug. When I looked, I saw only the military policemen. One of them was covering the hole with soil. The Jews were not there anymore.” (23 June 1973, S 164/69.)
- In January 1943 on the Cendrowizna range in the vicinity of Orłowska Droga near Miastkowo, Łomża District, 20-year-old Rochla from Szczepankowo and 19-year-old Miss Kopytko from Czaplice were murdered.
Józef Ch. remembered these two young women:
“Sometime later two Jewish women and a 16-18-year old boy came to my house. One of them was about 19 years old, was called Miss Kopytko and came from Czaplice. The other one was older, about 20 years old. Her name was Rochla and she came from Szczepankowo. These Jews were hiding from Germans. A week later the Jewish women returned but without the boy. They never came again after that.” (25 July 1973, S 164/69.)
- In January 1943 in Miastkowo, Łomża District a Jewish child of an unknown name was murdered. The child’s head was hit against the wall which resulted in the child dying on site.
The same day two women were killed, including the mother of the murdered child. “The women who had her child taken away by a military policeman was about 28 years old, medium height, black hair, slim built. The other woman was about 20 years old, slim, a bit taller than the other one. […] I learned that the women were captured in the village of Podosie in a farmer’s house. […] The military policeman tied the women with a wire to the back of a cart. They were tied in a way that the older woman still had the dead child pressed to her chest. After tying the women to the cart, the military policemen drove towards the forest. […] The military policeman shot the women in the forest, in a trench on the Cendrowizna range. The coachman who drove the cart covered them with soil.” – a testimony of Hieronim D., 10 July 1973, S 164/69.
Contact and cooperation
We are still looking for information on the identity of the victims and the location of Jewish graves in Miastkowo. If you know something more, write to us at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ds 164/69, Files on the crime of German gendarmes in Miastków, Łomża district, testimony of 3 March 1973, submitted to the District Court in Łomża.
Recording of the Zapomniane Foundation (audio file), name: Edward [history witness], subject and key words: Jewish graves in the Cendrowizna Forest, conversation size Agnieszka Nieradko, Miastkowo, 15 July 2015.
In appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this research project. Through recovering the assets of the victims of the Holocaust, the Claims Conference enables organizations around the world to provide education about the Shoah and to preserve the memory of those who perished.