Stadium Selection

Selection in Będzin, August 1942. Drawing by Ella Liebermann-Shiber.
Selection in Będzin, August 1942. Drawing by Ella Liebermann-Shiber.

As the war progressed, deportations from ghettos became increasingly common occurrences. On August 12, 1942, Nazi occupiers organized a massive selection and deportation of Jews in Będzin’s Kamionka ghetto.


All Jews were required to arrive at one of four designated selection points, with the majority of Jews being sent to the HaKoach sports stadium. Non-compliance with this order resulted in the severe punishment of the deserter’s entire family. The Jewish people spent several hours standing in line, heavily guarded and surrounded by machine guns. People were beaten.


Nazi officials eventually sorted Jews into four groups: those requiring further inspection, those returning safely to the ghetto, those awaiting deportation to a labor camp, and those awaiting deportation to a concentration camp. Rutka Laskier movingly speaks of this event in her diary.


Children, the elderly, those who were visibly ill, and those deemed otherwise unfit for labor were almost all sent to death camps. The selections lasted for three days and three nights. Most people did not come prepared with food or water. Some were allowed to return home, but others who attempted to leave or stand up were beaten and shot. Of the approximately 30,000 Jews who entered the stadium for selection, some 15,000 were deported to labor or concentration camps. Liquidation of the ghetto continued. By 1943, the entire ghetto had been liquidated and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.