Bloody Wednesday in Olkusz, Poland

Jewish men were gathered in Olkusz town centre for 'registration'.

On the 31st July 1940 a German Army police unit arrived in the Polish town of Olkusz and gathered all the Jewish men over 14 in the town centre for “registration”. They were then subjected to hours of bullying sadism, forced to lie face down in the city square and beaten if they moved. Three men died from the beatings. The event was absolutely unexceptional as regards the treatment of Jews in Poland, this type of event was all too common. On this occasion however photographs, taken by at least one German present, survive.

It was common practice for German troops to take photographs of all manner of German occupation activities, including the persecution of Jews, and even blatant murderous atrocities. It is known that there was even swapping of ‘atrocity photographs’ between German troops. Obviously not many of these photographs survive. But some do.

Jewish men from the Polish city of Olkusz are forced to lie face down in the City Square.

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