Izbica Ghetto

About sixty kilometres south of Lublin lies a small town called Izbica. in 1939, there were about 4,000 Jews living in the city and in December that year, the nazis deported about 2,500 Jews to the city from Lodz and Kolo. In 1941 a ghetto was established and the city’s geographical location next to an important railway junction made the ghetto ideal from a logistical perspective. The ghetto therefore became the main transit ghetto in the Lublin district for deportations of Jews to the Belzec and Sobibor extermination camps. Between March and May 1942, between 12,000 –,14,000 Jews from Bohemia, Slovakia, Germany and Austria were deported to Izbica and then on to one of the extermination camps mentioned above.

The ghetto was not shielded from the outside world, but the large number of Jews who were forced to live in inadequate housing with inadequate sanitary facilities, limited access to food and other necessities led to a mortality rate that was surpassed by the Warsaw ghetto in percentage terms only. In addition to deportations to the extermination camps, about 4,500 Jews were murdered at the Jewish cemetery, which was also destroyed by the germans during the war. The ghetto was officially wound up on November 2, 1942, and then a smaller ghetto was established for about 1,000 local Jews. The smaller ghetto was finally dismantled in April 1943 and the Jews were deported to Sobibor where they were murdered. Izbica was liberated by the Soviet army in July 1944. Only 14 of the original Jewish residents survived the war.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with monument. (2013).

Location: 50° 53' 40.91" N 23° 09' 35.04" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The Gestapo built a prison using Jewish tombstones taken from the Jewish cemetery. In 2006, the prison was demolished, but the gravestones that were best preserved were placed on the outside of the walls of a memorial room (Ohel) located at the cemetery. There are two monuments on the site, one newer and one older. They have also collected tombstones found on the site and put them in a pile as a form of monument. The burial site is located in a wooded area along the main road between Zamosc and Lublin. The small path that leads up to the cemetery is hidden between two houses and is not easy to find. Given the large number of western European Jews who were deported to Izbica, it is strange that it is no more known than it is. It is inevitably overshadowed by the more famous ghettos of Warsaw, Krakow, Riga and Lodz to name a few.

Follow up in books: Gilberg, Martin: Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (1987).