The History of the Jews of Biecz

The Jewish community living in our city until the Second World War left behind many traces. The buildings of the Municipal Office and the Library are former synagogues – the Old synagogue and Talmud-Torah. Less than 75 years ago, Biecz was still alive with multicultural life. Most of the buildings located in the historic central part of the city testify to their former residents. On the one hand, Biecz was home to religious Orthodox Jews, not well assimilated with the Polish residents, but there were also many well-educated people in the Jewish community: attorneys, industrialists, and bankers, who grew the economic and service sectors. September 1939 changed the situation not only for the Jews in Biecz. On Friday, the 14th of August 1942, at 3 in the morning, the Germans and the Ukrainian police surrounded the city. At 5 a.m., they entered the ghetto, causing panic among the Jews. Those who tried to leave the city were shot on the spot. The Jews had to appear at the city square at 7 a.m., where they were informed about resettlement. They were only allowed to take essentials. Young children, the sick, and the elderly – 180 people – were shot on the spot and buried in the local cemetery. Those remaining (around 1,000 people) were driven to the barnyards located near the Metropolitan Court, where they were imprisoned in a barrack for 4 days. Without food or drink, in the rain, they waited for transport to Bełżec, where they were taken in cattle wagons on September 17, 1942. Then came the end of the Biecz shtetel and its residents.

In 2021, in the cellar, is a permanent exhibition titled ‘The Jews of Biecz – History and Murder’.


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