Stopnitzer Young Men's Benevolent Association
of the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario Canada
We live to let our children know what went on in the years of the Holocaust and how we survived to live through those years..
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The Stopnitzer Young Men's Men's Benevalent Association or S.Y.M.B.A.
Was created in January of 1946, by Jewish immigrants in Toronto Ontario who were born in the town of Stopnica Poland. Many were survivors of the Holocaust. S.Y.M.B.A's objectives are to enable members and their families to meet socially, provide help, Maintain a cemetery for the membership, Remember the Holocaust, and Demonstrate solidarity with the State of Israel while engaging in charitable activities.
This is who we are....
Stopnica is a small town near Busko, in the Kielce Wojewodztwo (province) in central Poland. According to archives, Jews have settled there in the 17th century. By 1663, Jews owned 12 houses in the town.
The Jews of Stopnica had certain trading rights in this period and were exempt from services to the Starosta (Governor). They were granted a royal privilege in 1752 authorizing them communal autonomy and rights to engage in trade and crafts. The latter was regulated by an agreement concluded in 1773 between the leaders of the Jewish community and municipal authorities. The representatives of the Provice of Sandomierz, within the framework of the councils of Lands, convened in Stopnica in 1754 and 1759.
There were 375 Jews paying the poll tax Stopnica and 188 in the surrounding villages in 1765. Between 1823 and 1862 the authorities of Congress Poland placed difficulties in the way of increased Jewish settlement of Stopnica, because of its proximity to the Austrian border. In 1869 Stopnica lost its status as a city.
During the 19th Century, Chassidism gained influence within the Jewish community in Stopnica. In 1827, the Jewish population numbered 1,014, being 49% of the general population of Stopnic: their numbers rose to 1,461 in 1857---69%; 3,134 in 1897 -- 71%; and 3,328 in 1921 --76% of the entire population in Stopnica. The Jews were mainly employed in small scale trade and the crafts, including tailoring, shoe-making and carpentry, as well as in cartage.
During the German occupation (1939-1945), Stopnica was part of the General Government, Radom District, in Busko County. At the outbreak of WW II, there were about 2,600 Jews living in Stopnica. As part of the Nazi atrocities, the town centre, mainly inhabited by Jews, was burned down. Shooting Jews in the streets became a common occurrence. The Jews were forced to pay a high "contribution" as protection money to keep the Germans at bey. In order to further ensure these payments, the S.-S. took leading Jewish personalities hostage, some of whom were killed anyway. On the eve of Passover 1940, 13 Jews were dragged from their homes and shot.
In 1940 an "open" ghetto was established in Stopnica. There were no walls, just a number of streets designated as a ghetto, but the Jews were forbidden to leave them. Anyone caught outside the designated area, was shot. Luckily the Germans were not always in town and Jews, more or less, moved about.
Tailoring workshops were established, providing the craftsmen with some small livelihood. The number of Jews i the ghetto grew gradually with the influx of deportees and refugees from Plock, Gabin, Radom, Lodz, Krakow and from the surrounding villages around Stopnica. By November, 1940, there were 3,200 Jews in Stopnica; by May, 1941, the number rose to 4,600; and by April, 1942, it rose to 5,300.
In October, 1942, around 1500 young men and women were sent to labour camps in Skarzysko-Kamienna to work in munition factories. Actually, these young people went "voluntarily", on the understanding that the remainder of the Jewish inhabitants will be spared. However, the promises turned into lies. On November 5 and 6, 1942, the evacuation of the ghetto in Stopnica took place. The German soldiers, with the help of Ukrainian units, Police Police and Police fire brigades, drove the 3,000 Jewish men, women and children, on foot, to the train station in Szczuczyn, over 20 Kilometres away. Many of the marchers, especially the old and weak, were killed in cold blood.
Jews caught hiding in the ghetto were shot on the spot or rounded up and included in the evacuation march. The survivors that did reach Szczuczyn, were sent by train to Treblinka, where all of the them perished i the gas-chambers. In Stopnica itself, about 200 young men and women were kept in workshops and in road building. In January, 1943, this group was sent to the ghetto in Sandomierz or to the labour camp in Poniatow. All those at Poniatow were killed when the entire camp was massacred. Those at Sandomierz were later sent to labour or extermination camps. Some of them survived to Start Symba.
Together with all other Jewish Cities, Towns and villages in Poland, In January, 1943, Stopnica became "Juden-rein"-- no more Jews in a city that saw its Jewish beginning 1663 -- a life-span of 280 years.
We are the survivors and children of the survivors .
Stopnica Poland Circa