From August 1942 until November 1943 there was a forced labour camp in Szwarlikowska Street for about 3,500 Jews left alive after the liquidation of the Radom ghetto. The camp covered a small part of what used to be the ghetto and was still being referred to as ghetto by some people. It was related to the fact that the area of the camp included "ordinary" area of Miasto Kazimierzowskie, with tenements, houses and gardens.
It was adjacent to the Town Hall in the Market Square and included Żytnia, Brudna and Szpitalna Streets. It was both a transit and a temporary camp – within a little over than a year (most likely until November 1943) all the Jews from his area were resettled to the other camp in Szkolna Street (were there was a separate barbed wire area with several barracks). The remaining Jews were taken to camps in Płaszów near Cracow and Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. Administratively, the camps in Szwarlikowska and Szkolna Streets were managed by the same commandant. Until March 1943 the camp in Szwarlikowska Street was under the command of SS and the Police of the Radom District who appointed the SS-Untersturmführer Schippersas. Then the camp came under the supervision of the SS company "Ostindustrie" with the SS-Untersturmführer Günewig as the commandant.
There were around three thousand people in the forced labour camp in Szwarlikowska Street. After the liquidation of the large ghetto in Radom, in August 1942, about 3-3,500 Jews were still alive; they settled in Szwarlikowska Street, then some of them were transferred to a camp set up in Szkolna Street. Jews from different places in the Radom district and even from the Lublin region were brought to the camp next to the Town Hall. Similar resettlement to and from the camp took place several times while it was in operation.
Living conditions in the labour camp in Szwarlikowska were appalling. The buildings and flats were ruined and deprived of even bare necessities and the situation did not improve much during the time the camp operated there. Still, it was better than the conditions in Szkolna Street, where the area was isolated and heavily guarded. In Szwarlikowska Street food aid from Poles and even an escape were possible.
The Jews from Szwarlikowska Street were daily forced into 12-hour, gruelling work. The first task set by the Germans was a thorough clean-up after the liquidation of the large ghetto. The Jews had to remove the corpses of fellow Jews and bury them in the Pantz garden in Limanowski Street, then search the entire ghetto for any remaining valuables or items of any value. After this task the Jews were organized into working groups; some worked in the Arms Factory, others were assigned to work in the so-called "sheds" (small workshops) as tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, jewellers and watchmakers. After some time, a print shop was created, in which the Germans most likely printed false documents and dollars.
In addition, various seasonal activities were organized, such as peat extraction in the meadows surrounding Piotrówka. The Germans also forced some of the prisoners to remove the matzevot from the Jewish cemetery, which were then sold as construction material and used, among other things, to pave the streets. During this time the Jews experienced constant terror and brutal physical punishment. Robert Müller, Otto Perkönig, Johann Reich, Józef Martyn and Konrad Buchmayer were among the best-remembered executioners of that period. The health of the Jewish slave-workers deteriorated constantly and they were periodically selected to die. Biała Street and the forest in Firlej became the site of mass executions. In the second half of 1943, the Germans formed a commando from among the prisoners from Szwarlikowska and Szkolna Streets, whose task was to exhume and burn the bodies of the Jews murdered and buried in the Pentz garden. After they had performed this task, all the members of the commando were executed.
There is also a memorable event connected with the forced labour camp in. Szwarlikowska Street – the so-called "Operation Palestine". On 18 March 1943, the Germans contacted 30 intellectuals in the camp with a proposal to go to Palestine. They were to be exchanged for German nationals imprisoned by the allied forces. To qualify, they were to pay certain sum of money - the response was overwhelming – more than 130 Jews believed the promise uncritically; among the applicants were industrialists, officials and doctors. All of them were deported to Szydłowiec and murdered in the local Jewish cemetery. Only 17 people survived.
Currently, only few buildings from the time of the labour camp are left in Szwarlikowska Street.
S. Piątkowski, Dni życia, dni śmierci. Ludność żydowska w Radomiu w latach 1918-1950, Warszawa 2006; A. Rutkowski, Hitlerowskie obozy pracy dla Żydów w dystrykcie radomskim, Biuletyn Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego w Polsce, 1956, nr 17-18; Jan Franecki, "Akcja Palestyna", "Radomir" 1989, nr 1; Jan Franecki, Zagłada Żydów radomskich w czasie II wojny światowej, "Radomir" 1987, nr 5; Jakub Lejb Zyskind, Wspomnienia, Biuletyn Kwartalny Radomskiego Towarzystwa Naukowego, 2011, t. XLV, z. 1-2; Jules Schelvis, Vernichtungslager Sobibór, Berlin 1998; Münster 2003; Jules Schelvis, Inside the gates, Elzenhorst Tricht 1990.
1. Szwarlikowska Street, 1960s, photo by Jerzy Szepetowski
2. The crossroads of Szwarlikowska and Wolność Street, 1960s, photo by Jerzy Szepetowski
3. Szwarlikowska Street, widok obecny, photo by Paweł Puton
4. Szwarlikowska Street now with buildings from the 1990s, photo by Paweł Puton