Bendzin (Bendsburg) Jewish Ghetto – Alfred Schwarcbaum
Unlike the Warsaw and Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghettos, the Jewish ghetto at Bendzin was not sealed off from the outside until the spring of 1943, but life was harsh for the residents all the same. One of the more prosperous among them, Alfred Schwarcbaum, escaped to Switzerland. From there he conducted relief and rescue work for Jews in his homeland, together with Dr. Abraham Silberschein’s Relico Organization in Geneva and with the New York-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Schwarcbaum also used an undercover address in Lisbon (shown in the undercover addresses section of this exhibit) to conduct illegal communication with Jewish anti-Nazi resistance groups. Youth movement members arose in armed resistance when the Nazis liquidated the ghetto on August 1, 1943, and held out for two weeks. While nearly all the Bendzin Jews were being deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp, a small group escaped to Slovakia and Hungary, where they continued underground work until the end of the war.
Pictured Above: October 8, 1941, registered letter from A. Israel Gold in the Bendzin (Bendsburg) Jewish ghetto to Alfred Schwarcbaum at Lausanne, Switzerland, censored at Frankfurt, with October 14 Lausanne arrival backstamp. The purple marking across the flap reads: “Sender: Jewish Agency in Bendzin, Mail Collection Center.”
Download Frame 6 – Page 15 as a PDF