A Jewish community in southern Poland, instituted in the sixteenth century, Mielec had flourished until the Holocaust. Saidel provides its past history of accomplishments and hardships, photographs of its former inhabitants, interviews with descendants of its citizens, and written accounts by some of those who had lived there. It was totally destroyed by the Nazis in one day, March 9, 1942. It went quickly from being a shtetl to a Nazi concentration camp. The Nazis appropriated it because nearby, an airplane factory already existed, which the Nazis could use to make their own planes. Some of its surviving inhabitants lived for months under terrible conditions around other small Polish towns. Coincidentally, Saidel’s childhood Jewish teacher had come from there and as time went on, she came across more people now living in Israel who had come from there, or who were descended from its former citizens. Today, nothing and no one Jewish remains in Mielic. What Saidel provides, after much research, are personal testimonies from people whose families or friends came from that beleaguered shtetl and a photographic gallery of “Exile in the Lublin District, Slave Labor in Mielec, and Mielec Today.” This is an informal, albeit definitive history of a Jewish town that was murdered in one day, and provides additional information to the tragic history of the Shoah. Index, notes, references.
Mielec, Poland: The Shtetl That Became a Nazi Concentration Camp
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.
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