Left photo, from left, standing: Ethel
Hitelmachers, Dyna Rochwerg andSarah Gutman; seated: Menia Shafir & Leah Apelbaum.
Right photo, from left: Brandil Rosenbaum & Feiga Melman.
Ożarów Yavne girls
At this time, the beginning of 1940, the Ożarów
ghetto comprised nearly 5,000 people. This was a ghetto that was not
encircled by barbed wire, so that dealings with the local Poles
remained possible. But it was still necessary to have objects of value
or cash in order to get by. As the situation deteriorated, many Jews
poured into Ożarów. Jews from neighbouring towns and villages had to
abandon all of their possessions in order simply to move into the
ghetto. Likewise, many Jews who had been born in Ożarów returned
thinking that there they would be able to find refuge with their
families. After the Germans annexed the region of Wloclawek to the
Reich, more than 600 Jews, men, women and children, were expelled and
poured into Ożarów. The village also received a transport of 100
families who had come from Austria. In very little time, the
population of Ożarów had doubled and was living in precarious
In December 1939 two bales of clothing had arrived
from America. It was the Joint Distribution Committee which had
succeeded in sending aid to the refugees and to the poor people of the
ghetto, but it was not the poor people of the village on whose backs
the clothing ended up.
A soup kitchen was set up on the premises of the
Jewish primary school, and the prayer house was converted into a
dormitory for the refugees, while the synagogue became a hospital.
One of the members of the Judenrat council
took up residence in the apartments of Fishel and Yankel Mandel in the
building that belonged to them, while the council itself decided to
establish its quarters in the neighbouring house of Itche Warshawski.
A passageway was constructed between the offices of the Judenrat
and the Mandel apartments.
All those who could afford it paid a weekly tax to
the Judenrat in order to avoid certain work details. But if in the
meantime, the Germans assigned them to some other task, too bad for
them. The money they had given was thrown out. Only those close to the
Judenrat and the Jewish police seemed to be able to escape