Confined to the Ghetto 1941-1942

I was there.

Max is sent back to Kielce when the anti-tank ditches are completed. In Kielce the conditions in the ghetto are horrible. The family has been forced to move and there is a severe food shortage. Max decides to give his ration card to his parents so they can get his food and he escapes to his brother in Starachowice.

When Max comes to Starachowice he is forced by the police to work for the Germans at an ammunition factory. When the Germans finally decide to close the ghetto in Starachowice the Jews are divided in two groups. The ones working are in one group and women, elderly and children in the other. 

Several of Max's cousins are in the camp, but they end up in different groups. Max's cousin, his favourite cousin, who saved Max from drowning when he was a baby, has had an accident and can no longer work for the Germans.

Max Safir (1925-2020), Poland

Max Safir (1925-2020), Poland


Life in the ghetto

Max talks about when he returned to his family in Kielce and the time in the ghetto.

1) Listen to Max as he talks about returning to Kielce and the time in the ghetto.

  • 1a. How does Max describe the family’s situation in Kielce?

Escape to Starachowice-Wierzbnik

Max talks about his escape to his brother in Starachowice and how he tricked some policemen when he was smuggling flour for his brother.

2) Listen to Max as he talks about how he fled to his brother in Starachowice and then helped him.

  • 2a. Max was delighted when he received new clothes that his brother had prepared for him. What were the clothes made of?

  • 2b. Max’s brother was very proud when Max figured out a way to trick the Gendarmes. How does Max solve the situation with the Gendarmes?

At the ammunition factory

Left alone

Max talks about how he is forced to work under hard conditions in an ammunition factory in Starachowice. After a while the Germans liquidate the ghetto in Starachowice.

3) Listen to Max as he talks about his time working in the ammunition factory and the liquidation of the ghetto in Starachowice.

  • 3a. When the ghetto was about to be liquidated, the Germans divided the Jews into two groups. Why did they do so and who ended up in each group?

  • 3b. Max describes his cousin as big and strong. He often had to perform hard work, yet the Germans killed him. Why?

The ghetto and work camps in Starachowice-Wierzbnik

Slideshow about Jewish life in Starachowice-Wierzbnik and about the ghetto and work camps that were established there during the German occupation.

  • 4b. In Starachowice-Wierzbnik there were several important factories where the Germans forced Jews to work under harsh conditions. How are these conditions described? Give some examples.

Extra Material