Testimony about the pogrom in Cracow kept by Maksymilian Fiszgrund

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  • Photo taken in:
    krakow
    Year when photo was taken:
    1945
    Country name at time of photo:
    Poland
    Country name today:
    Poland

This is a testimony of Pepa Kleiner received at the Jewish Committee one day after the pogrom in Cracow. My husband, Maksymilian Fiszgrund, held a full-time position at the Jewish Committee, he was the deputy president of the Jewish Committee since 1st April 1945. Because before the war he was a journalist, he took a copy of the testimony home and kept it among his documents probably on purpose, to publish it in the future.

TESTIMONY
received 12th August 1945 at the Jewish Committee in Cracow
from Mrs. Pepa Kleiner, age 35, residing in Cracow, 10-1 Estera Street:

Yesterday, that is Saturday 11th August, between 12-1pm, four armed policemen and four men in civilian clothes stormed into my apartment. The door was locked but they were banging on it so hard I got scared and let them in. Besides me and my six-year-old daughter, Rozia, there were the following persons in the apartment: a girlfriend of mine from my hometown, i.e., Buchach, Fanni Finkelman, and two other friends, Giza Ochron and Frydzia Weksler. As soon as the men walked into the apartment, they told us to raise our hands up and started searching the apartment. They told us we were all under arrest for 'murdering Polish children.' They forced us out of the apartment. On the street, all eight were beating us with rifle butts, and the onlookers were pushing and hitting us. They were hitting me in the face, on the head, on the neck, someone hit me in the teeth, someone else kicked me in the stomach, and someone else still hit me in the chest so strong I fell down and couldn't catch my breath. My companion Fanni Finkelman was certain I was dead. The policeman escorting me fired a warning shot to disperse the mob. People in the crowd were also hitting my daughter, the six-year-old Rózia, who has bruises on her legs and head.
On our way we were stopped by some soldiers, or perhaps it was a lieutenant, who ushered us into a restaurant and told us to wait there until things outside calm down. We sat there for almost half an hour and when things calmed down, we went back home accompanied by one soldier and one civilian. When I entered my apartment, I found everything turned upside down. I had been stolen a gold women's wristwatch, 6,000 zlotys in cash, a golden ring, a silver men's pocket watch, as well as various things from the apartment, a radio, binoculars. I couldn't ascertain precisely what had been stolen because I was too afraid to stay in the apartment - all of the other tenants are Poles, and the Miodowa street synagogue, where yesterday's riots started, is nearby.
The tenants are people from the 'lowest class' and they robbed my apartment. The house janitor was happy to see us being taken out, and she was very surprised to see me back alive.

Witness Pepa Kleiner was directed to the ambulatory for an official check-up.

Witness Mrs. Fanni Finkelman, age 36, residing in Cracow, 10-1 Estera Street, confirmed witness Pepa Kleiner's testimony, and added that during her forced absence from the apartment, unknown perpetrators, surely people living in the same house, had robbed the apartment, stealing two leather bags, one containing 5,000 zlotys in cash and 12 silver spoons and forks. They also stole a pair of new navy blue shoes, a Crimea sheepskin hat, three suitcases with things, and five golden rings. They also stole a suitcase belonging to one Jan Szydlowski who had recently returned from a concentration camp

[The pogrom in Cracow on 11th August 1945 broke out when some Jews who were praying in the synagogue at Miodowa Street went out to calm the hooligans, who were shouting outside. One of the Polish boys started to shout that the Jews were trying to kill him.
The crowd assisted by police began to beat up the Jews and to raid their apartments. There was one officially proved fatality, Roza Berger. However, historians note 5 deaths. A dozen or so apartments were robbed and many people were beaten.]

Interview details

Interviewee: Alina Fiszgrund
Interviewer:
Magdalena Bizon
Month of interview:
August
Year of interview:
2005
Krakow, Poland

KEY PERSON

Maksymilian Fiszgrund
Year of birth:
1887
City of birth:
Sulkowice
Country name at time of birth:
Austria
Year of death:
1978
City of death:
Cracow
Country of death:
Poland
Died:
after WW II
Occupation
before WW II:
Journalist
after WW II:
Jewish activist
Family names
  • Previous family name: 
    Fischgrund
    Year of changing: 
    1942
    Reason for changing: 
    Hiding Jewish identity/nationality
  • Previous family name: 
    Misiolek
    Year of changing: 
    1945
  • Previous family name: 
    Fischgrund
    Reason for changing: 
    Misspelling
    Decade of changing: 
    1950s

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