Responding to the previous post about a new stone memorial being planned for those Jews murdered in Kańczuga in 1942 and after the war in 1945, Raphael Thurm sent some additional information. He pointed to the 2002 article in Polish – “Nikt ich nie tykał” which is referenced as a source in the post about the memorial project. That article explains the investigation into the massacre, and the unsuccessful attempt at figuring out who carried it out (basically the locals wouldn’t name names). He also pointed to the page about the massacre at the Virtual Shtetl web site – “The post-war murder place – Węgierska street, św. Barbary street“.
The source for the Virtual Shtetl page is the same article from 2002, which is why one anomaly in the story is the same on both pages. They say the massacre happened on March 31, 1945, which was the Easter Eve, or the night before Easter. The Virtual Shtetl page simply says it was Easter. What’s strange is that one of the victims of that massacre was in my own family, and her granddaughter recounted to me that the murders took place on the second night of Passover, at the second seder. The second night of Passover would have been March 30, not 31.
I don’t know what accounts for this discrepancy. Perhaps contemporary newspaper reports of the murders might shed some light on this, although maybe not. It seems the investigation done by a Polish journalist in 2002 went into many of these details, and determined it was March 31. Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust simply says “Thirteen survivors were murdered in spring 1945 (during Passover) by Polish nationalists.” which is true in either case, it was still Passover on the 31st. Does anyone else have information on this event that might shed some light on when exactly it happened, or adds any other details?
On our Facebook Page, Łukasz Biedka shared a link to a page describing the efforts of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research to build a memorial to Jews killed in Gniewczyna Łańcucka and Kańczuga between 1942 and 1945. During the war they were buried in mass graves, and after the war the bodies were exhumed and moved to the cemetery in Jagieła – Niechciałka near Jarosław.
The bodies were buried in mass graves with only numbers referencing the exhumation protocol numbers. The center was able to track down the exhumation protocols and identify some of the bodies buried in the graves, and now want to build stone memorials for those who are buried there. For Kańczuga, the names they found were:
Izrael Ejzig, age 35
Chana Krieger, age 20
and her unborn child
Sima Krieger, age16
Pinia Krieger, age10
Jankiel Krieger, age 12
Fejwel Jakubes, age 33
Dora Bergman, age 32
Mindla Saltzman, age 55
Bernard (Berek) Zwanziger, age 26
Izydor (Azri) Reitzfeld
murdered on March 31, 1945
and 72 unknown persons
murdered in 1942
Unfortunately only 12 names out of more than 80 buried in the mass grave, but it’s something.
They’re looking to raise about $4600 for the two stone memorials (one for Kańczuga, and one for Gniewczyna Łańcucka). Read more on the page. There’s nothing that indicates how far they’ve come in their fundraising efforts, but it only started a few weeks ago, and I guess you can e-mail the center directly and try to find out how much they now need if you’re interested in donating.
Thanks to Marla Raucher Osborn, who shared a photo of a book about Kańczuga with me on Facebook. That book, Kańczuga. Miasto i gmina. Dziedzictwo kulturowe, is about the cultural history of the town, and includes a section on the Jewish cemetery in Siedleczka. When trying to track down this book, I found that the publisher, Podkarpacki Instytut Książki i Marketingu, has actually published four books about Kańczuga, although all are out of print. Those books are:
Kańczuga. Miasto i gmina. Dziedzictwo kulturowe(Kańczuga. Town and Municipality. Cultural Heritage.)
Kańczuga. Miasto i Gmina (Kańczuga. Town and Municipality.)
Kańczuga i okolice. Przewodnik (Kańczuga and its surroundings. A Guide.)
Historia Miasteczka Kańczugi pisana 1889 r. (History of the town of Kańczuga. Written 1889.)
The first three seem to essentially be guidebooks. The last one is perhaps more interesting, as it is a re-print of a book written in 1889 about the history of Kańczuga. It was written by a priest, and apparently was based on many documents he found in the church there, so I have no idea how much, if any, deals with the Jewish community, but being as it was written when the Jewish community was still a major portion of the town, it would be interesting to read.
Of course, all of these books are written in Polish, and hard to find on top of that since they’re all out of print. If I knew we had someone willing to translate the important parts of these books, I would try getting copies of them. If you can read and translate Polish, and want to help out, let me know.
The two entries at the end of the above list are the resident books. Links in the table will take you to the page on the State Archives site for that document, which shows a summary of information on the document. Click on the tab at the top that says ‘Digital copies’ to see the thumbnails of the scans for the document, and click on the thumbnails to load a larger version of each image.
As the user interface for navigating and viewing the larger images is a bit difficult, I’ve created PDFs of each book, which can be downloaded from this site. The pages are not as big as the original, and are compressed more than the original, in order to be possible to download (as it is the files are each over 60mb – but if I had just combined the original files they would be over 200mb each).
If you want to get the higher-resolution images, follow the links to the books above (the last two rows of the table), and download the original image(s) that you need.
I haven’t yet had a chance to go through the books and see which names can be extracted yet, and I don’t even know how they’re organized and what years are covered (only the 1931-1944 range given), so if you do go through them and want to help other by commenting below what you’ve found, that would be great.
Thanks also to Marla Raucher Osborn, who spotted Logan’s post before me and posted about it on Facebook.
Thanks to Marla Raucher Osborn who pointed out on Gesher Galicia’s Facebook page that the Austrian National Library recently posted scans of historical newspapers from Austria, including Galicia, to their web site. The site is in German, but I recommend loading it in Google Chrome, and using the automatic translation capabilities of Chrome to navigate the site. Unfortunately, besides being in German, much of the newspapers are printed in Gothic script. There is a relatively good search interface.
Some of the results includes news from the town, some are casualty reports from WWI, and some I have no idea. It would certainly be welcome if someone with German skills, including the ability to read Gothic script, could take a look at the search results and see if they could determine which references to Kańczuga and the surrounding villages here are relevant.
Three cadastral maps from the Kańczuga Nearby Villages Project have been found, scanned, and are now available in the Gesher Galicia Map Room. We are very grateful to the team at Gesher Galicia, both in the US and in Poland, that have made it possible to find these and make them available to researchers everywhere.
We don’t yet know of associated house indexes for these maps (like there is for the Kańczuga map), but if we find them we will be sure to transcribe them and make them available. If you have family from these towns, it would be great if you could share information on your family, when they lived in the town, etc. in the comments below.
After several years of effort in the Polish archives, funded by donors from the Kańczuga mailing list, I’m happy to announce that we now have a cadastral map of Kańczuga. The map is from 1849 and corresponds directly to a database of house and land owners that is also now indexed and online in on the Gesher Galicia web site.
If you want, you can scroll down on the left side, and under ‘Record Sources’ you select:
Kańczuga Homeowners List (1849)
That will show you the 255 records in that database, with 40 records shown at a time. Otherwise you can search in the full database, then select the above source to filter it so only the results from that database is shown (there is no way to directly search just that database).
The database includes the house numbers, and correspond to the house numbers on the map. The original data source, a ledger, has land plot numbers as well, but is not in the database online (yet). Donors to the Kańczuga research project can receive the original scans of the ledger. If you’re a donor and want the original scans, or want to donate to the project, please send me a message via the contact page.
Genealogyindexer.org, the web site created by Logan Kleinwaks, is an incredible resource for Jewish genealogy research. If you’re not familiar with it, I suggest checking it out. The site offers a search engine of over 300,000 pages of books that have been scanned and placed online, including business and phone directories, yizkor books, school records, military records, etc. You can follow which new documents are added to the site by following the @gindexer twitter account.
There are hundreds of records that mention Kańczuga, and I recommend doing your own search, but I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention a new document added recently, which is an undated Galicia Business Directory, probably published between 1907 and 1913. Here’s the page that includes the entry on Kańczuga:
The job titles are in German. You can use Google Translate to translate them. As Markus Thurm is in my family tree, I looked up what a Lotteriekollekteur was – it’s a lottery agent.
Also worth nothing is the line with a few words and the little graphics at the top of the entry. These are explained on page 7 of the full document, and it means that Kanczuga was a market town and community of 2338 people, uses the court in Przeworsk, with both a post office and a telegraph station. If you look at the other entries on the page, you’ll see that it points to which towns the people went to for postal mail and for telegraph service. So even from this single page we can see that Kanczuga was the central market town for the surrounding communities, and was where many of them went for mail and telegraph service.
If you find your relative on the page, post in the comments below.
The cemetery used by the Jewish community of Kańczuga was located in nearby Siedleczka. In 1942, the Nazis rounded up some 1000 plus Jews left in Kańczuga, took them to this cemetery and murdered them, dropping their bodies into a mass grave there. Since that time the cemetery was largely neglected, until 2008 when a group of Kańczuga descendants, including Michael Freund and Howard Nightingale, organized a renovation of the cemetery. The renovation included cleaning up the grounds and re-building a wall around the cemetery.
While the cemetery restoration was completed in May 2008, it seems that in March 2008 videos were posted to Youtube that show the cemetery prior to the restoration work. The second video shows the nearby memorial over the mass grave of those Jews murdered in 1942.
Video walkthrough of the Siedleczka-Kańczuga cemetery:
Video of the memorial to the 1000+ Jews murdered in 1942:
If you visit the cemetery in Siedleczka, consider videotaping your visit and posting an updated video of the current appearance of the cemetery and let us know (we’ll be happy to post it for you if you’d like).