Four pre-war picture postcards of Bentschen (Zbąszyń). Click on any image to enlarge.
Bentschen in to Zbaszyn
At the end of the First World War, and following on from decisions made in the Treaty of Versailles, Bentschen was transferred from Germany to the newly recreated Poland and renamed Zbaszyn.
Zbaszyn in the 1930s
Zbaszyn was in the 1930s located right on the German/Polish border and in October 1938 became briefly of some international significance when both Germany and Poland had begun to restrict the rights of Jews. Firstly, Poland brought in a law removing the Polish citizenship of all Jews living outside the country. In response, Germany started to expel Jews who did not hold German citizenship and who had originally hailed from Poland. This was the first mass deportation of Jews by Nazi Germany. As a result many thousand Polish Jews who had been living inside Germany arrived by train in Zbaszyn where the Polish authorities held all who did not have valid Polish passports.
Zbąszyń is a small town with a population of just over 7,000. It is located in the Wielkopolska Voivodeship of Poland.
Related webpage on Polish Poland: Neu Bentschen / Zbąszynek in old pictures.