Demblin was home to eight of the Boys. The town, in the Lublin region of Poland, also played a part in the lives of a number of other members of the Boys who were in the Demblin labour camp, among them Jacob Fajngcesycht from the nearby village of Ryki and David Denderowicz, who was born in the small village Leopoldow.
Slave labour played a key part in the Boys survival.
Jews settled in the area around Demblin in the 18th century. Until the partition of Poland in 1795, when the town became part of the Russian empire, Demblin was called Modrzyce and was home to the rabbinical Taub family.
Demblin has always been an important military town and in 1926 the biggest airport in Poland was built there. It was a centre for the training of fighter pilots. Demblin was also an important railway junction.
There were several Jewish bakeries in the town and Jews owned the soda factory, a brewery and the timber mill. A Jewish weekly newspaper was published in Demblin from 1929 to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Although Jews were not drafted into the Polish air force, or allowed to work for the state railway, Demblin’s Jews made a living supplying both.
Antisemitism grew in Demblin in the interwar period and there was a boycott of Jewish shops in the late 1930s.
During the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, Demblin was badly bombed, as was nearby Ryki. The raids killed 680 Jews.
The synagogue in Demblin was burnt down in October 1939 and persecution of the Jews began in earnest. Twelve Jews were burned alive in the synagogue.
All Jews from adjacent villages were placed in the ghetto of Demblin. Conditions in the ghetto were cramped and insanitary. Poles were allowed to enter the ghetto in 1941, so many of the Jews were able to survive by trading material goods for food.
In May 1942, 2,500 Jews were deported to the Sobibor extermination camp where they were murdered. A further 3,250 Jews were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp in September where they were gassed.
No Jews remained in Demblin by October 1942.
Demblin had five labour camps and the town was an important military base prior to the German invasion of the Societ Union in the summer of 1941. The Boys worked in these camps, notably the one at Demblin airfield.
One of the last Jewish labor camps in the Lublin District, it enabled hundreds of Jews to survive the Holocaust. The camp was closed in July 1944 and the workers moved to the HASAG labour camps in Czestochowa.
PRESENT DAY DEMBLIN
After the end of hostilities, 82 Jews returned to Demblin-Irena, nine of whom were murdered by Poles. All the surviving Jews left Demblin during the summer 1945.
Today, no Jews live in Demblin.