- Holocaust Period In 1939, 5,000 (about 40%) of the inhabitants of Sieradz were Jewish. The town was occupied by German forces on the third day of the war (Sept. 3, 1939), and looting of Jewish stores immediately spread. A number of Jewish hostages were taken and some were sent to Germany. In retaliation for alleged cases of shooting in the direction of German soldiers, all Jewish males were assembled and beaten, and some were killed. The ghetto was established on March 1, 1940, but no fence erected around it. During 1940–41 (before and after the establishment of the ghetto) the Jewish population of Sieradz decreased to about 25% of its prewar figure, as a result of deportations and flights to other towns of the Warthegau or to the territory of the General Government. In 1941 there were also sporadic transports of able-bodied Jews to the work camps near Poznan. By the beginning of 1942 only about 1,200 Jews remained and these were ordered to appear at a roll call twice daily. During their absence from their homes the remains of their property were looted. At the end of August 1942 the remainder of the Jewish population was sent to chelmno death camp with the exception of a few selected for forced labor in the lodz ghetto. (Danuta Dombrowska) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowska w Polsce w wiekach XIX i XX (1930), 10, 12, 27, 50, 71; M. Baliński and T. Lipiński, Starożytna Polska, 1 (1845), index; A. Eisenbach et al. (eds.), Żydzi a powstanie styczniowe, materiały i dokumenty (1963), index; I. Schiper, Studya nad stosunkami gospodarczymi Żydów w Polsce podczas średniowiecza (1911), index; idem, Dzieje handlu żydowskiego na ziemiach polskich (1937), index; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; D. Dabrowska, in: BŻIH, 13–14 (1955); T. Berenstein, ibid., 38–39 (1961).
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.
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