Monument Commemorating Shoah Victims in Mszana Dolna


Z głębin ziemi znowu nas wyprowadzisz Ps 71,20

From the depths of the earth you shall bring us up again

ומתהומות הארץ תשוב תעלנו


Monument Commemorating Shoah Victims in Mszana Dolna

Every person should have their own name on their grave. For more than 80 years, nearly a thousand victims murdered on 19.08.1942 at Pańskie rested nameless in a mass grave. Most of another more than a hundred Shoah victims associated with Mszana Dolna, murdered in many other places, do not even have their own graves.

Our Sztetl Mszana Dolna Foundation has decided to change this situation and commemorate all of them by inscribing their names, surnames and age on a granite memorial erected between a symbolic monument, designed by one of the survivors, Jakub Weissberger, and renovated last year by the Foundation, and the actual burial site, located a dozen meters away.

So far, only Weissberger's relatives: father Samuel and sisters Lusia and Lola, have been mentioned on a plaque on the side of the monument. On the other hand, at the main monument to the Victims of Nazi and Stalinist Terror, at the Catholic cemetery in Mszana Dolna, the names of several baptized Jews actually resting at Pańskie are listed. Missing there, however, were the names of neophytes from outside Mszana who were murdered there, such as the Gottlieb family from Krakow or the Beres family, who moved to Mszana shortly before World War II. Only the names of Eng. Emil Rosenstock, Janina (Zofia) Śliwinska and Anita Sperber appear on the aforementioned monument, while there were three times more Christian victims at Pańskie. Moreover, the victims of the Shoah were also, or rather, primarily non-Christian citizens.

It was a huge challenge to establish this list of the victims reliably, so that none of those killed were left out, but also none of those miraculously saved were on it. Unfortunately, the Mszana archives were destroyed by the occupiers, while the extremely valuable list of Jewish people living in Mszana, compiled by Judenrat chairman Ari Schmidt two months before the mass murder, on 15.06.1942, contains many errors that had to be verified.

However, the aforementioned list, stolen from the executioners by one of the Victims, 18-year-old Józik Goldberger, was the basis for creating a reliable set of names on the monument.

The first attempts at verifying the list were made just after World War II, when survivors arrived in Mszana – witnesses to the murder at Pańskie: Abraham/Roman Borger, Wolf/Zvi Mastbaum, Jakub Weissberger, who survived the occupation in Russia, and several other witnesses.

They marked the names of people who – according to their knowledge – had not been killed on 19.08.1942 at Pańskie with a tick. These people included about 150 men left for further work, including "cleaning up Jewish property," as well as those who were murdered between 15.06. and 19.08.1942, and a few people who had left Mszana in the meantime.

However, even this first, quite competent committee made some mistakes, failing, for example, to mark Moses Aftergutt from the first family on the list, who was separated for work, survived and was an important witness to the Shoah in Mshana. He came to the grave of his loved ones many times and undoubtedly survived. Two Aftergutt’s cousins Wolf and Isaac Gatterer were also not marked, despite the fact that their brother, Leib Gatterer, also a survivor in the same group, testified that they had been sent to work in Vianov's Limanowa company. They probably died later near Tymbark. This is all the more incomprehensible since Borger survived together with Gatterer, and they were friends for the rest of their lives. Perhaps they made the aforementioned verification in emotion, and took the circumstances obvious to them as obvious to others.

The fact is that there are more such mistakes. They are evidenced by the documents we managed to find and thanks to which, with all possible care, we have compiled a list of the victims of the massacre at Pańskie and those murdered in other places and circumstances.

While working on the preparation of this list, we decided that it would be fair to include in a separate column the names of those who - most often separated at Pańskie, but not only - found death in the Shoah in other, not always identifiable places. Those included, for example, together with the aforementioned Gatterers, who worked and were killed after the construction of the road between Limanowa and Tymbark, the young Naftali Zins from Market Square, or Moses Aftergutt's friend, 18-year-old Naftali Stern, who was murdered in Rabka in January 1943. Their names were included in the list, but were "marked."

It is worth mentioning that the list stolen from the executioners, according to which they carried out the murder, was given to a resident of Mszana Dolna, Eugeniusz Furdyna, who kept it until the end of the war. It is thanks to him that we many years later received a copy of it and were able to establish the names of the victims.

The sources we used in the months-long research to verify the list included documents gathered from various sources, testimonies of witnesses and survivors, files of court cases against the executioners of the Mszana Jews, documents from the Yad Vashem Institute, the Jewish Historical Institute, the Institute of National Remembrance, camp cards, information obtained from descendants of survivors and others.


List from 15.06.1942.

Compiled at the behest of the occupation authorities, the list of the population of Jewish origin – because it also included Catholics with Jewish roots – it consisted of 1,029 names, by family, in alphabetical order. Fifty-four cards have survived, with the title, the population list and the final additions of witnesses. On the first card there is information that the execution on 19.08.1942 took place on Wednesday, and lasted from 6 am to 2 pm.

An annotation made by its first, just post-war revisers states that 148 people on this list, are not buried in a mass grave, hence the number of 881 murdered, which also appears on the monument erected at the site by Jakub Weissberger.

However, this is not an entirely reliable number. Some mistakes have to be taken into account: missing deletions of some survivors, the possibility that some Jews arrived in Mszana after 15.06.1942. and natrually did not appear on this list, the possibility that a some people were not registered, but lived here and were executed with others, finally – that some Jews were deported from neighboring towns shortly before execution. There was also a group of Jews sent to work in, for example, the Stuag in Zakopane, who were not in Mszana Dolna in June 1942, but come back before the 19th of August – many people stayed in this labor camp periodically and then returned to Mszana. Also, some of those included on the list in June, were in Zakopane in August, as noted in the annotations.

We also know that some Jewish people had been already working in the Vianowa (Limanowa) company and in the nearby quarries (Klee&Jager) – to work in which kommandos were formed from the separated group after the execution on Pańskie. These people were living periodically outside Mszana and may not have been included in the aforementioned list.

It can therefore be assumed that about 900 people were murdered on Pańskie. We have written 876 names of those undoubtedly murdered there on 19.08.1942. on the monument. However, we believe that there were more victims.

Of the 148 crossed out, not all were killed, either: a dozen or so managed to survive (this was noted with some of the people on the list, but not with all the survivors). Therefore, the last column, mentioning Victims murdered in other places, counts 119 people.

Among them, first, Józef Goldberger, to whom we are indebted for saving the list. Unfortunately, we don't even know exactly where he is buried; there are two conflicting accounts about his death. Separated to "clean up Jewish property," he fled after some time. One version says that, having nowhere to hide, he returned to Mszana and died here (in which case he would have been among those buried in the Jewish cemetery), while another says that a trace of him disappeared near Tarnów.


The undoubted survivors listed on the list from 15.06.1942. are:

  1. Moses Aftergutt
  2. Roman Borger
  3. Salomon Dobruch
  4. Rajzel Mindl Fakler
  5. Lejb Gatterer
  6. Mosze Jered
  7. Stanisława Rosenstock
  8. Aleksander/Hirsch Mastbaum
  9. Wolf/Zvi Mastbaum
  10. Josef Stamberger
  11. Abraham Stamberger
  12. Mendel Stamberger

In addition, there were survivors, not mentioned on the list: Jakub and Salomon/Symcha Jakubowicz, Salomon Grünberg, Józef Friedman, who also testified after the war before the Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes as a witness. We will write about the survivors, not related to the discussed list, who had been outside Mszana since the early period of the occupation, in a separate article.

There are also other people who are not on the list, but after the war testified, among others, before the Bochum court as witnesses to the Pańskie crime. In addition to Salomon Grünberg, there are several others who are difficult to fully identify, as only abbreviated names and surnames appear in the files:

 "Aft., Bab. , Bor. , Dr. Fro., Ga., Gat., Jac., Müg. and Sli. Grü." Of those mentioned, it was possible to undoubtedly "decipher" Moses Aftergutt, Leib Gatterer, Abraham Borger, Jakub Jakubowicz, and Salomon Grünberg, thanks to the mention elsewhere in the records of their age or name, as well as their place of residence during the trial. "Sli" is undoubtedly the non-Jewish husband of the murdered, nine-month pregnant, baptized Jewish woman Anna/Zofia Śliwinska. Unfortunately, we have not been able to fully determine who "Krö" and "Ga" were. Perhaps, in the second case, it is Moses Gassner, who survived the Auschwitz, Mauthausen and Gusen camps.



To summarize: establishing an absolutely certain list of all those murdered in the Shoah in our town, is not quite possible. For example, we know of 3 unidentified people shot/buried in the Jewish cemetery. They were a young woman in folk costume and two young children, whose personalities we have not been able to identify, witnesses were not able to provide them. Perhaps such nameless Victims rest also at Pańskie. We gave them all honor and, as far as possible, justice, commemorating them on the monument erected in August 2023 at the site of the crime and their resting place. May the memory of all these innocent Victims, be blessed!


Shoah in Mszana Dolna in numbers

We estimate that a total of about 1100 people were murdered in Mszana Dolna as a result of the Shoah: women, men, children. The victims came not only from Mszana Dolna, but also from Krakow, Berlin, Łódź, Bielsko Biała, Gdańsk, Nowy Sącz, Rabka, Zembrzyce, Skrzydlna, Dobra, Tymbark, Mszana Górna, Łostówka, Kasina Wielka, Kasinka Mała, Olszówka, Raba Niżna, Raba Wyżna, Konina, Podobin, Niedźwiedz, Poręba Wielka, and Lubomierz.

One-third of those murdered were children and teenagers under the age of 18.



On the monument commemorating the Victims of the Pańskie and other places – except the cemetery, where we inscribed identifiable names on the Shoah Victims buried there, and the mass grave on Ogrodowa Street – we wrote a passage from Psalm 71: " From the depths of the earth you shall bring us up again," in Polish, English and Hebrew. The translation into Hebrew was done by Ewa Gordon, into English by Jakub Antosz-Rekucki.

The research to verify the list of Victims was carried out by Urszula Antosz-Rekucka. Funding for the making of the monument from various institutions was obtained by Marek Rekucki.

The grantors were the Jewish Historical Institute Association, the Dialogue Forum, the PZU Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Also contributing to the erecting of the monument were the descendants of Mszana Jews and many people of good will supporting this important undertaking, 

The monument was made by the Milbart company from Mszana Dolna.

The monument was unveiled by the Town Mayor, Anna Pękała, and the vice-president of the Shtetl Mszana Dolna Foundation, Marek Rekucki, during the commemoration of the 81st Anniversary of the Shoah in Mszana Dolna, on 21.08.2023. Present were descendants of survivors from Israel, the USA, Denmark and Poland, a representative of the Chief Rabbi of Poland and the Rabbinical Commission for Cemeteries, the Polish Council of Christians and Jews, the Club of Christians and Jews "Covenant", the Council for Dialogue of the Archdiocese of Krakow, the Institute of National Remembrance, the Scouting Organisation Hufiec Gorczański ZHP, Mszana parishes, residents and guests. 

This text was translated into English by Rachela Antosz-Rekucka.


I would like to dedicate this text to 18-year-old Józik Goldberger, who stole the list of Jewish residents of Mszana and saved it for posterity, dying himself a few months later. May his memory be blessed!

Urszula Antosz-Rekucka