Just a few days after the start of World War II, the Germans entered Brzesko. In the fall of 1939, persecution of Jews began, and in the spring of 1941 there was established a ghetto, which remained open for about a year. The area of the ghetto included the building pictured in the photo (current address Żwirki i Wigury Square, 3), which functioned as a Jewish hospital.
Jan Burlikowski in his “Chronicles of the town of Brzesko” quotes the following testimony:
“Brzesko resident Mr. Michal Kopytko told the chronicler the following: In June 1942, as a room painter, I was painting a room of a Jewish hospital in Brzesko, located in a corner building at the present Żwirki i Wigury Square and Trzcianecka Street, today owned by Mr. Schmidt. At one point I heard gunshots in the town. Soon armed Germans burst into the hospital building. They rushed into individual hospital rooms, and I could only hear shots along with the screams of murdered patients. They spared no one. They murdered mothers with children, pregnant women, old people, all the patients inside the hospital without exception. It was something so terrible that to this day, despite the passage of decades, this monstrous image remains in my memory. Terrified to the highest degree, I fled that place and never returned there again.”
It most likely happened on June 18, 1942, during the first major action in Brzesko, when the Germans murdered over 200 Jews in the town and deported many others to Belzec.
© Anna Brzyska, 2022