My Visit To
|October 7, 1999: Suwalki to Warsaw
When we leave Przerosl and start to head back toward Warsaw, I ask George to drive through Bogusze, which is on the outskirts of Grajewo. I have read that Bogusze was the site of a "transit camp," where the Nazis "stored" Jews, Russians, and political prisoners waiting to be transported to the concentration and extermination camps. I've been unable to discover if there are any remnants of the Bogusze Transit Camp still in existence, and I'd like to look around to see what we can find.
In the small town of Bogusze, George stops to talk to some people in front of what appears to be some kind of government building. When he returns to the car, he tells me that there are several memorials to the Bogusze Transit Camp in the area, and that only one is one the main road but he says that he has directions (which, I notice, he has not written down) that will lead us to a couple of the other sites.
We drive about a mile down the highway, and then George turns down a small dirt road, at the end of which we encounter this memorial.
"The Bogusze Camp had served previously [prior to 1942] as a concentration camp for Russian prisoners of war, where myriad prisoners were tortured to death. The forests surrounding Bogusze were strewn with giant communal graves of prisoners. The camp occupied a very large area, and was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. It had trenches covered with simple roofs that served as living quarters for the residents of the camp. Jews from Grajewo, Szczuczyn, Trestina, Augustow, and other villages of the area were brought to this camp." -- Stawiski Memorial Book (©1973 Stavisk Society.)
"In June 1942, all the remaining Jews [of Augustow], mostly women and children, were deported to the camp in Bogusze, near Grajewo, where about 7,000 Jews from the vicinity were concentrated. Within a few weeks about 1,700 of them died of hunger and disease. In August 1942, the German and Polish police conducted an Aktion. The Bogusze camp was liquidated and all its Jewish prisoners deported to Treblinka and Auschwitz death camps, where all but a few were put to death." -- Encyclopedia Judaica (©1972 Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd.)
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