The Monument to the Martyrs of Zaglebie is located near the city of Modi’in, off Highway 443. The monument commemorates the victims of the Zaglebie region, which is located in Katowice in southwestern Poland.
More than 100,000 Jews lived in Zaglebie before the Holocaust. The largest communities were Bedzin and Sosnovitz where the Redmosker Rebbe had his Hassidic center. At the beginning of the 20th century Jews accounted for about half of the population of Bedzin.
With the outbreak of World War II, the Germans entered the cities of Zaglebie and began to harass the Jewish population.
In 1942, Jews were forced into ghettos. Before that there was an infamous ‘selection’ process after which 12,500 Jews were sent directly to Auschwitz, where the extermination program began a short time earlier. This selection has been termed “the Big Punkt” (Punkt – point in German, meaning the place from which the Jews were deported) and required the cruel machinations of the Germans to convince Jews to show up.
In August 1943 the ghettos were liquidated and the last remnants of Zaglebie were sent to Auschwitz.
At the end of the Second World War most of the few survivors came to Israel.
The monument is located in the Ben Shemen forest of the JNF, which has undertaken to plant 6 million trees in Israel in memory of Holocaust victims, as part of the “billion trees” program initiated by the United Nations. The first tree was planted by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during a recent visit to the country.