David Giora: The Beggagon Case

The Bagagon family shop resided on Filsodskigo Street. What goods were sold in this store? Sewing supplies and everything related to tailoring and sewing. They made good livelihood as it was quite a spacious store for that period.

On Mondays and Fridays, when the market was taking place in our city, the shop was crowded with people. Most of the buyers were coming to town for a country market.


Anti-Semitism raged in Poland in those days. After the death of Pilsudski, the new regime, not only encouraged anti-Semitism, but deliberately turned a blind eye. These were years of pogroms in Poland (Fsitk, Minsk Mazowiecki and Brisk). Every business that belonged to non-Jews displayed a printed poster to emphasize the Christian religion affiliation. (Furma Chazesqanska). Despite everything the peasants turned to Jewish shops and this angered the Jewish-haters even more. And so began gangs of “Andekim” (National Democrats) to spread a banner of their own: Do not buy at from Jews. Even this did not provoke reaction from the Jews, for they knew that whoever came to buy from them once and benefited will come back in the future. So the enemies of Israel began to stand guard near Jewish stores, in order to prevent by force the entry of Polish buyers.


The Polish Army, which included air and sea forces, was off-limits to Jewish soldiers. Not far from our town on the way to Sokolov was a runway where student pilots trained. Many times did I see them traveling in our city in their gray uniforms, with a short dagger stuck in their belts.

Sailors, on the other, I have not seen in our city, because the sea was hundreds of miles away from us and one did not expect to see a real sailor.

I do not know how the son of the Bagagon family arrived to the Polish war fleet, but the fact is he served in a submarine. He was a tall man, the son of Bagagon, and his navy uniform has radiated happiness over the Jews.

The sailor son was on vacation, and here I come to the event when I first saw a kosher Jewish soldier in a sailor suit.

One day guards were placed near the Bagagon shop preventing buyers from entering. The uniformed sailor did not accept it quietly. (After all, I came to see the sailor). And here in spite of myself I had to watch the blows young Bagagon gave the enemies of the Jews.

Here I acted according to the Russian proverb: “when you are given – Take, and when you are being hit – escape”. I acted on the second part of the proverb and ran away. I was curious to see how things end up, and during the next few weeks there were no longer guards at their shop, but the Gentiles still has been affected by the tragic incident and stayed away from the store which bore no poster, “a Christian business”.


The store was still standing after the bombing, but Jew-haters knew how to loot the store contents.

After the occupation of our town the store was deserted and the Bagagon were not seen anymore.

All we know is that the Polish submarines escaped to France and took young Bagagon with them.

Written by David Giora.
Translated from Hebrew by Mr. Yuval Romano