This tragedy occurred on a farm near Szczuczyn belonging to Mrs. D. (the IPN
prosecutors know her name, but requested that it should not be disclosed ). The
circumstances were almost the same as in Bzury: the Jewish women, on loan from
the ghetto in Szczuczyn for work in the fields, were taken from the farm and
killed - scythes, hoes, sticks and buried on the field.
Who did the beating? Poles, residents of Szczuczyn and surrounding areas.
It's already known that at least three of the six perpetrators (who are now
dead), were the same ones guilty of the murder of 20 women on a farm in Bzury.
Radoslaw Ignatiew, the Bialystok IPN prosecutor who led the long-lasting
investigation into the murder in Jedwabne, has now taken up case of the
Szczuczyn ghetto. He suspects that the Szczuczyn and Bzury cases were not the
only occurrences of Jewish women being murdered.
Jews were free labor. Property owners borrowed women from the ghetto for
labor - that was a common practice at the time. Farmers paid the Germans a
certain amount for renting people from the ghetto to help on the farm. According
to Radoslaw Ignatiew, everybody profited from the deal - the Germans, who
received cash, Poles, because they profited from cheap laborers. Including the
Jews, who were happy because they could obtain food outside the ghetto.
In the Book of Remembrance of Szczuczyn is a letter by Chaje Sojka Golding
dated the 22 July 1947. She wrote to her cousin informing him what had happened
in Szczuczyn in August 1941 '' On Tuesday. Farm managers demanded that women
working in the fields at harvesting wheat and for work on vegetable gardens.
They chose more than 80 women. Gutka Rozental was chosen along with them. Others
went willingly in the hope that they may bring back a basket of potatoes. They
went and never came back. They were killed, some with scythes on the fields of
of wheat, others with hoes, yet other ones in the vegetable gardens''.
It appears that the Bzury crime was not the only one of it type. I have come
across files on another occurrence. More women, 11 victims of Jewish origin.
They were killed in a field near Szczuczyn, where they were employed. Among the
murderers, there are indications that three of them come from Bzury. This case
was dropped in March 1950, because some of the perpetrators were dead, while
they could find no proof against others. The circumstances of the murders in
Bzury seem to indicate that they acted out of racial hatred. There was also the
motivation of robbery, says the prosecutor Ignatiew.
One of the state archives still contains a number of cases from Szczuczyn.
But that's really a rarity. When, during the 60s came the order to clean up
archival assets, it was the turn of the August decrees. The director of one of
the regional National Archives, who was supposed to authorize the destruction of
the judicial documents, did not agree. He requested courts to keep files on acts
covered by the August decree. It is thanks to people like him that files on these
penal procedures were kept. The files contain the identities of the
perpetrators, as well as witnesses and the circumstances of the crime.
Ignatiew managed to ascertain the names of 22 people, still alive, who used
to live in Szczuczyn and Bzury in 1941 and were at least 12-13 years old at the
Who were the women? The name of only one victim is known. But it's not known
where she was murdered. The women had relatives, acquaintances. It's hard to
imagine that no trace was left after such a tragedy. The bad luck consists on
the fact that, in many cases, the whole Jewish community had been murdered and,
those who could have known anything, went abroad - says Ignatiew. - We are
trying to ascertain the personal data of the persons killed. We have, a few
times, managed to contact families of the Jewish victims, to inform them that
the prosecutor is conducting enquiries into the murders of their relatives.
The women working in the Bzury farm still have not been identified, they were
between 15 and 30 years old.
Read as well: Report from the interrogation of the woman in whose farm worked
the Jewish women.
Przeczytaj tez: Protokól z przesluchania
gospodyni spod Szczuczyna, u której