Jewish Social Self-help During Operation Reinhardt Cover Image
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Żydowska Samopomoc Społeczna w okresie akcji „Reinhardt”
Jewish Social Self-help During Operation Reinhardt

Author(s): Aleksandra Bańkowska
Subject(s): Political history, Welfare services, WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), History of the Holocaust, History of Antisemitism
Published by: Stowarzyszenie Centrum Badań nad Zagładą Żydów & IFiS PAN
Keywords: Jewish Social Self-help; Operation Reinhardt; deportations; awareness of the Holocaust; social welfare; rescue attempts; contacts with the government of the General Government;

Summary/Abstract: In 1942 the Jewish Social Self-help (Żydowska Samopomoc Społeczna, ŻSS) was the only central Jewish organization in the General Government, with branches in over 300 localities. From the very beginning of Operation Reinhardt the ŻSS Presidium in Cracow had received official letters from the local branches and letters from private persons containing information about “deportations in an unknown direction,” that is, to death camps. This article analyzes the content and language of that correspondence and describes the actions undertaken by the ŻSS Presidium with regard to the collected information. During the first weeks those were attempts to confirm the transports’ destination and negotiations with the German administration of the General Government regarding provision of decent living conditions in the places of ‘resettlement’. Those efforts were discontinued with the gradual advent of the awareness of the extermination. From then on the Presidium concentrated on protecting its own employees from deportation and increasing their number. Moreover, it also encouraged its local branches to establish work co-operatives for artisans, which was thought to enable the employed to avoid deportation. In the end all those efforts came to no avail. The ŻSS continued its activity, in a significantly reduced dimension, under a changed name (Jüdische Unterstützungstelle, JUS) until July 1944.

  • Issue Year: 2017
  • Issue No: 13
  • Page Range: 277-294
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Polish