"The entire Jewish neighborhood did not sleep, because it could not. Trucks made rounds in the streets at all times, and loud knocking on house entrances resounded constantly. Everybody listened intently for whether they were the target; lookouts stood on guard in dark windows. At one moment one’s heart was gripped by terrible fear, and the next moment, there was a sigh of relief: 'It’s not for us.'"
Tadeusz Zaderecki was a Catholic Pole, an intellectual, and a passionate scholar of Judaic studies. During the interwar period, he established and maintained a close and amicable relationship with the local Jewish community in his native Lwów.
On the eve of World War II, the city’s 110,000 Jews, about one third of its inhabitants, made Lwów the third largest Jewish population center in Poland. Following the Polish defeat, the city became part of the Soviet occupation zone. Large numbers of Jewish refugees arrived from the German-occupied areas and the number of Jewish residents doubled.
In June 1941, when Germany launched its assault on the Soviet Union, Lwów was quickly overrun. Zaderecki witnessed the violent Nazi campaign against the Jews that began immediately. As relations between Jews and non-Jews deteriorated quickly, he struggled to maintain contact with his Jewish friends, many of whom were ghettoized and subsequently sent to concentration camps.
Zaderecki felt compelled to bear witness. He closely followed all developments, took risks to witness events personally, and collected as much information as possible from both Jewish and non-Jewish sources. At the end of the war, he turned his notes into a detailed historical account.
Translated from the Polish, widely annotated, and with an introduction by Zaderecki’s friend and Holocaust survivor Rabbi David Kahane, Lwów under the Swastika is a unique, important, and moving document that offers a variety of perspectives and a comprehensive understanding of the Holocaust in Lwów.