Janowska


Before the Second World War, Lviv belonged to an area of Poland called Galicia. Lviv was first occupied by the Soviet Union in September 1939 in accordance with the unofficial additional protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentroppact. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, Lviv was occupied by the germans after only a few days. Galicia and Lviv then became part of the General Government. Anti-Jewish laws were introduced immediately after the occupation of the Jewish population in the newly occupied areas. In September 1941, the nazis established a factory in the northeastern parts of the city next to a road called Janowska. The factory became part of the German armaments industry controlled by the SS (Deutsche Ausruestungswerke, DAW). Jews were used as labour and, until the factory, a camp was established in October 1941 where the slave workers were housed. In addition to providing the factory with slave workers, the camp was also used as a transit camp for Polish Jews from nearby villages to be deported to the extermination camps, mainly Belzec.

The prisoners were forced to undergo regular selection of those who were deemed fit for work and thus for the time being avoid being deported to Belzec. The times that Belzec could not murder Jews at the same rate as they arrived, the Jews in Janowska were murdered in a ravine just outside the camp called Piaski. Especially in the summer and autumn of 1942, thousands of Jews were deported from the ghetto in Lviv to Janowska where they were murdered in Piaski. Janowska, like Auschwitz and Majdanek, became a combined concentration and extermination camp. The evacuation and decommissioning of Janowska began in November 1943. Already in June of that year, the cremation of the 50,000 Jews murdered in Piaski had begun. The task fell on Sonderkommando 1005 who recruited prisoners who were forced to dig up the corpses and cremate them over open fires. In November 1943, a failed insurgency was carried out among the prisoners where a few managed to escape, but most were captured and murdered. Janowska and Lviv were liberated by the Red Army in August 1944.

Current status: Demolished with monument (2009).

Location: 49°51'31.07"N 23°59'11.83"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Where Janowska was located there is 2009 a terrible prison in decline where tuberculosis is common among prisoners. Possibly the wall surrounding parts of the prison is a relic. But what is most remarkable is that Piaski, where 50,000 Jews were murdered, is completely decayed, neglected and has certainly also been subjected to vandalism. There is rubbish, rubbish and even burnt-out wrecks right next to the ravine. The monument at Piaski is an old statue that is falling apart and is probably placed there by a private person. I have never documented a more neglected place than Piaski. Other similar sites such as Paneriai, Rumbula, Bikernieki, Drobitsky Yar, Babi Yar, Skede, Pogulanka and others have been preserved in a much more dignified manner given its history. 50,000 Jews were murdered in Piaski and deserve to be honored and remembered in a more dignified way than is currently the case. The least one could ask for would be for the place to be cleaned up and, if possible, to erect a monument in honor of those who were murdered. Even in central Lviv, the incidence of anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism is more frequent than I have experienced elsewhere in Eastern Europe. But no one seems to reflect on this, not least the guide who showed me around.

Follow up in books: Arad, Yitzhak: Holocaust in the Soviet union (2009).