Authors

Object ID

2014.1.152

Object Name

Postcard

Date

1941

Files

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Description

Front: Tan postcard with orange printed postcard lines with Russian text. Includes an orange printed and green pasted postage stamps, writing in blue, black, and purple ink, and black and blue hand stamps.

Back: Message written in blue ink.

Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash: A postcard from April of 1941, less than two months before the town was overrun by the Nazis and turned into a ghetto. There is no record if the author, a Polish Jew named Moses Sandbank, survived the Holocaust, as Sieniawa and its surroundings lost the lion's share of its archive documents during the war. The San River, which flows in Sieniawa's vicinity, was a traditional frontier line between conflicting sides during World War I, and the river served as a border between Austria-Hunary and Russia. It was also along this river that Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany divided their spheres of influence in 1939, as had been agreed in the secret meeting between Ribbentrop, Molotov and Stalin, held just before the outbreak of World War II. Sieniawa, because of its ill-fated location, was bound to suffer first in hostilities. Shelled three times over a period of twenty years, a place similar to this can hardly be found on the map. Each time the town was razed to the ground its inhabitants learned how to survive in the ruins. During the Holocaust the Jews from the vicinity were driven to the Sieniawa ghetto and shut off behind a three-meter barbed wire fence. One day the Nazis announced that they needed people to work. In doing so, they wanted the Jews to turn up of their own accord. The wagons driven by the local peasants took the Jews in two different directions: some of them went to the nearby concentration camp and place of executions in Pelkinie; the others were taken to the nearest train station and from there transported to the gas chambers of the Belzec death camp. In 1942, when the ghetto went into liquidation, the German and Ukrainian militia went from door to door, murdering those who managed to survive. The dead bodies were heaped on wagons and buried at the back of the Jewish cemetery. Many people were hiding themselves in the area. Some of them even dug burrows underground; they extended the cellars in their homes and used them as hide-outs. After some time they were caught, however, especially by the Ukrainians, who turned out to be particularly overzealous informers. One Polish witness stated: "I remember the Ukrainian village leader who, one Sunday, on the way to church, went to the police and denounced a Jewish woman that had been spotted in town. The horde of policemen chased her and shot her in the fields."

After the liquidation of the ghetto, the Jews who survived and tried to hide themselves were caught, and shot at the cemetery. In many cases, however, they were executed and buried on the spot. Sieniawa abounds in such places. Surviving Nazi records indicate a complete liquidation of the Jews from the town of Sieniawa by 1943.

Dimensions

4 x 6"

Keywords

Sieniawa, Ghetto, Poland

Postcard from Sieniawa Ghetto in Russia Occupied Poland

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In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted