The Polish-Soviet War of 1917-1920 and the Łosice Massacre

In 1917, when World War I came to an end for Imperial Russia (which included Congress Poland and Pale of Permanent Jewish Settlement) the Imperial government collapsed and was replaced by the Soviet Union. During the transitional period,  life for the Jews of Łosice in Poland became very difficult. As fate would have it, Łosice became a target during the early days of an event which followed upon the heels of World War I, known as the Polish-Soviet War, a conflict which would continue until October of 1920.

On the 18th of August in 1917, the Soviet Army, which had been occupying Łosice, left;  and the Polish Army fighting for the independence of Poland occupied the town. The Polish Army began anti-Semitic provocations and its officers gave permission to its soldiers to usurp and destroy Jewish possessions for 24 hours, but they continued for four days.

The Polish soldiers destroyed and robbed many small businesses as well as houses. According to witnesses, peasants from nearby towns joined the soldiers in their criminal acts, and raped women and humiliated Jews in the streets. Some of the victims were Rabbi Itzhak Rosenberg and Yermiyahu Kohen, members of the town hall. The Polish police apprehended Jews who wanted to escape from Łosice and imprisoned them. Hirsh Kratz, who sent a complete report to the representatives of the Jewish people in Poland, wrote that the streets of Łosice were full of wounded and beaten Jews who did not receive any medical assistance. The damage to their possessions and economic situation was severe.



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