Świeciechów Duży

Borough of Annopol, Kraśnik District, Lubelskie Voivodship

Type of place

A forest

Information about the crime

On 14 July 2014 we met with Mrs Janina P., a resident of Świeciechów born in 1925, who told us about her Jewish neighbours: “There were two families. Kalja, Dawidek, Josek, Usie, Abram – I knew all of them. Mrs Josek was a very old lady, we used to call her grandma. They [the Jews] had a shop, a bit of land – they lived off this land. They had a cow and a horse. She was killed, her daughter was killed, one daughter-in-law, another daughter-in-law, two granddaughters. […] They were Jews from Świeciechów, they were our Jews, not some strangers, we lived with them like family. They were born here, they lived here and they died here. I used to go to school with one of them, Kalja. When they had a wedding they would invite us. We lived well together. They were our people. […] Even in the last moment a Jewish woman, Mrs Usiowa I think, came to us and asked my mum to hide her. My mother said: ‘I can hide you but they will kill you and they will kill us.’ Because that would have happened.”

In the summer of 1942 or 1943 German units arrived in Świeciechów and murdered members of two Jewish families. 18 or 19 people would die then, mostly women and children. They were taken out of their homes and murdered in the front yard. Their bodies were loaded on a cart and taken to a meadow where they were buried in a common grave. Our interlocutor recalls that day: “The village of Świeciechów was accused of [hiding] partisans so Germans arrived and surrounded the village and captured whomever, a Jew or a Pole… they captured them [the Jews] at home. […] One Jewish mute woman was in the forest picking berries so she survived but later she died because she got lost in the forest. So all the Jews were killed. They took a cart from a neighbour and put them on the cart. I was there when they were putting them on the cart. The Jews were lying there, some of them were not dead yet. There was a gorge we called Ściegna and there was a ditch. […] Now it’s levelled. Before it was a mound. […] Our cows grazed here. We were taking the cows to the field. The mound was visible for a few years.”

The murder of Jewish families in Świeciechów has been confirmed by another resident, Henryk M. (born in 1925) whose account was recorded by researchers Monika Stec and Piotr Zagozdon on 18 August 2011: “Ukrainians came and the Gestapo arrived. I’m confusing something. At that time when they caught those men and took them to Majdanek… those 16 Jews. I used to live nearby. There were two Jewish families in one house. […] They took them behind the house, to a yard.

Researcher 1: – So they killed them in front of their own house, yes? In front of their house?

– Yes.

Researcher 1: – So what happened later to the bodies?

– Later [they put] those dead Jews on a cart and took them to a copse and they dug a ditch and buried them all in one ditch.”

On the same day we went with Janina to the place where murdered Jews had been buried. The place which used to be a meadow 70 years ago now was covered with self-sown trees.

A query in the Institute of National Remembrance archives came up negative.

Contact and cooperation

We are still looking for information on the identity of the victims and the location of Jewish graves in Świeciechów. If you know something more, write to us at the following address: fundacjazapomniane@gmail.com.

 

Bibliography

Recording of the Zapomniane Foundation (audio file), name: Janina [eyewitness], b. 1925, subject and keywords: Jewish graves in Świeciechów Duży, interviewed by Agnieszka Nieradko, Świeciechów Duży, 4 July 2014.

Transcriptions of recordings of conversations with the inhabitants of Świeciechów (Mr. Henryk, born in 1925) conducted by Monika Stec and Piotr Zagozdon on 18 August 2011.