19 Kilometers from Auschwitz

The Story of the Jewish Community of Trzebinia, Poland

By Yad Vashem

"On the eve of WWII, about 1,500 Jews lived in Trzebinia, Poland a community that flourished with creativity and culture, religion and tradition, social life and politics.On 29 May 1942 the deportation of the Jews of Trzebinia began. That day, SS and German police forces surrounded the ghetto, and a selection was carried out. The young and healthy were sent to work in factories and forced labor camps. A week later, those who remained were sent to Auschwitz, where they were murdered in the gas chambers upon their arrival. After the war, only 270 Jews from Trzebinia remained alive. This is the story of the community of Trzebinia."

Trzebinia, Poland, 1934, A group of youths ice-skating., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Trzebinia, Poland, Deportation of the Jews from Trezbinia and Chrzanow., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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"Before the War

“Although Trzebinia was a small town, it was the spiritual and cultural center for the entire region” 

Joseph Wiener (Kehillat Tzrebin)"

Life in Trzebinia, Poland: Holocaust Survivor Testimonies, 2009-11-24, From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Holocaust survivors describe life in Trzebinia before the war

Trzebinia, Poland, 1934, A group of youths ice-skating., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Trzebinia, 1934 – A group of young people ice skating. Pictured: Yehoshua Fleischer, Zigmund Reich, Yosik Meltzer, Esther Meyer and Mendech MarkovichTrzebinia, 1934 

Trzebinia, Poland, 1932-1933, Members of a sports team in the town., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Members of the Trzebinia Jewish soccer team, 1932-1933

Religious Life in Trzebinia, Poland: Survivor Testimonies, 2009-11-24, From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Holocaust survivors describe religious life before the war in Trzebinia

Trzebinia, Poland, Young men sitting around a table; one of them is holding a mandolin., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Meeting of young people in prewar Trzebinia

Trzebinia, Poland, 1932, Girls in the "Agudat Israel" youth movement., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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1932 -Girls in the Agudath Israel youth movement in Trzebinia

"During the Holocaust

In the early days of the occupation, the Germans broke into the Jewish stores and apartments, robbing them of their possessions. At the end of 1939 and the beginning of 1940 all Jewish-owned factories were confiscated and the Jews of Trzebinia were put to hard labor. A slew of decrees made their lives even harder: they had to wear identifying marks, their movement was restricted and their properties were plundered. At the end of 1940 and during the first half of 1941, the Germans began to seize Jewish men for forced labor camps. On 29 May 1942 the deportation of the Jews of Trzebinia began, and on 7 June the last Jews in the town were deported to Auschwitz."

Trzebinia, Poland, Deportation of the Jews from Trezbinia and Chrzanow., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Deportation of Jews of Trzebinia and Chrzanów

The Liquidation of the Trzebinia Ghetto: Survivor Testimonies, 2009-11-24, From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Survivors describe the liquidation of the ghetto in Trzebinia

Trzebinia, Poland, The buildings where the Germans gathered the local Jews for deportation to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, postwar., From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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One of the buildings in which the Jews were held before their deportation to Auschwitz

Just 19 kilometers from Auschwitz… we knew about Auschwitz, but we didn’t know then, in our time, that they burnt people there, that it was a crematorium... they said there was a camp there… but nobody knew… it was so close, and so far.

(Pinchas Tzimerman)

After the Holocaust

After liberation, Holocaust survivors began to return to their hometowns and villages, in the hope of finding living relatives. In Poland, the destruction was visible in every direction. Out of the entire Jewish population of Trzebinia, only 270 people survived the war.



“Many came to the threshold of the house where he was born, where he had left his parents and loved ones. Standing, waiting in hope, that someone would open his door. But this miracle never happened."

Photos and Pages of Testimony of the Klagsbald family from Trzebinia, Poland, From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Photos and Pages of Testimony of the Markowicz family from Trzebinia, Poland, From the collection of: Yad Vashem
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Their Legacies Remain

Pages of Testimony are special forms submitted to Yad Vashem by survivors, family members or friends in memory of Jews who perished in the Holocaust. On Pages of Testimony the personal identities and brief life stories of Holocaust victims are commemorated for generations to come.

Credits: Story

Curator —Dana Porath, Yad Vashem

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Stories of the Holocaust
The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the persecution and murder of 6 million Jewish people and 5 million non-Jewish minorities by the Nazi regime. Here we remember the suffering and loss - as well as the perseverance, survival and strength - of its victims.
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