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BOCHNIA (from 1939 to 1945 called Salzberg ), town in Cracow province, Poland, noted for its rock-salt deposits. In 1555 the Jews of Bochnia, who engaged in marketing and contracting for the salt impost, were granted a general privilege by King Sigismund Augustus. Jews there were accused of stealing the Host in 1605 and a Jewish miner, allegedly the instigator, died under torture. Subsequently the Jews were expelled from Bochnia, and the city received the privilege de non tolerandis Judaeis. This exclusion of the Jews remained in force until 1860, but Jews were allowed to resettle in the town only in 1862. They numbered 1,911 in 1900 and 2,459 in 1921.

Holocaust Period

An estimated 3,500 Jews (20% of the total population) lived in Bochnia in 1939. The German Army entered the town on Sept. 3, 1939, and immediately subjected the Jewish population to persecution and terror. In May 1940 a huge "Kontribution" of 3,000,000 zloty ($600,000) was imposed by the Nazis upon the Jewish population. In March 1942 a ghetto was established to which the entire Jewish population from all the surrounding towns and villages was brought. In August 1942 a massive Aktion was conducted by police units from Cracow. About 600 Jews were killed on the spot and another 2,000 deported to Belzec death camp. On Nov. 2, 1942, a second deportation took place during which about 70 people were killed and more than 500 deported to Belzec. In September 1943 the entire ghetto was liquidated. No Jewish community was reestablished in Bochnia after the war.

[Stefan Krakowski]


Podhorizev-Sandel, in: bŻih, no. 30 (1959), 87–109; M. Borwicz, Dokumenty zbrodni i Męczeństwa (1945), 152.

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