During WWII German occupying forces began to create ghettos - segregated and isolated areas for Jews. They were designed to restrict the rights of people of Jewish origin, to exploit them and finally to exterminate them.
On 3 April 1941, Radom Governor Hans Kujath issued a decree allowing a creation of isolated closed residential areas in Radom. The Radom Ghetto was one of the largest concentrations of Jewish population, reaching as many as 33,000 people. In the German nomenclature it was referred to as the "complex ghetto", consisting of two Jewish quarters located in different parts of the city. One of them covered the traditional Jewish quarter (Wałowa and neighbouring streets), while the second ghetto was located in Glinice. The two ghettos owed their existence to the city layout and the large number of Jews. Poles living in the ghetto area were relocated to other districts of Radom.
Glinice, where the „small ghetto” was located, was in one of the poorest areas of Radom with numerous wooden houses and some brick buildings dating back to the time of the partitions. It included the following streets: Graniczna, Błotna, Wrześniowskiego, Kośna, Kwiatkowskiego, Biała, Pusta, Placowa, Konopnickiej, Niemcewicza, Inwalidów Wojennych, Złota, Kinowa, Prosta, Dąbrowskiego and Lubońska. Many buildings were scattered across the area, that is why barbed wire fences were erected along the border with the Aryan side. High population density, poor sanitatary conditions, lack of medicines, and very low food rations led to high mortality rates in the ghetto. Inside it, the Jewish community was constantly terrorized by arrests, deportations to concentration camps and killings.
In January 1942, Reinchard Heydrich, Head of the Reich Main Security Office, presented a plan for a "final resolution of the Jewish question" by the systematic extermination of 11 million Jews living in occupied Europe. The plan was given the code name Operation Reinhard.
In Radom the Operation started with the liquidation of the "small ghetto" in Glinice. In the evening of 4 August 1942, a group of Polish employees of the municipal power plant arrived at the ghetto in Glinice to assemble a network of powerful military flood lights under the German supervision. Soon after, trucks began to gather close to the ghetto borders. The displacement took place in gruesome circumstances.
The Jewish policemen, who were ordered to immediately bring all the inhabitants of the ghetto to the communal square, were waiting for the Germans at the gates of the ghetto. The Gestapo made the selection by hitting people and shooting at a defenseless crowd. First, they separated about 600 old and sick people as well as small children and shot them immediately. Approximately 800 healthy men and 19 women were selected, issued with work cards and taken to the "large ghetto". In the meantime, other officers of the "displacement group" searched the houses, murdering those who did not come to the square.
In the morning about 8,000 Jews were rushed to the railway sidings of the "Bata" shoe factory (would-be "Radoskór"). It turned out that the Germans prepared too many carriages, so they decided to add 2,000 Jews from the „large ghetto”. In total, 10,000 Jews left Radom on that day and were transported to the death camp in Treblinka.
S. Piątkowski, Dni życia, dni śmierci. Ludność żydowska w Radomiu w latach 1918 - 1950, Warszawa 2006; J. Franecki, Zagłada Żydów radomskich w czasie II wojny światowej, „Radomir. Kwartalnik Turystyczno - Krajoznawczy Zarządu Wojewódzkiego PTTK - Radom, Radom 1987.
1 - 2. Fragments of old buildings in what used to be the”small ghetto” during the German occupation, photo by P. Puton