Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team




Introduction to the Ghettos of the Holocaust


  Jewish Ghettos

  The Judenrat

  Judenrat Leaders

  Prominent Jews











The Zwolen Ghetto



Map showing location of Zwolen

Jews had lived in Zwolen since the 16th Century and by the 17th Century they represented ten percent of the population of the town, which then numbered some 2,700 inhabitants.

In the period preceding the Second World War, approximately 3000 Jews lived in Zwolen, representing half of the total population. The Jews of Zwolen were not wealthy, most of them being artisans and shopkeepers.

On 6 September 1939 Zwolen was heavily bombed by the German Airforce and a second air attack, coinciding with a heavy bombardment by German artillery two days later.


As a result almost eighty percent of the town was destroyed, and the invading German soldiers, and was the subject of many photographs. Shortly after occupying Zwolen, German soldiers burned a group of Jews alive in a barn and economic persecution of the Jews began immediately.


The Nazis confiscated Jewish property, and the Jews were forced to pay very high “fines”, and were used as forced labourers.

Jews forced to work in Zwolen

The synagogue in Zwolen, which had been severely damaged during the bombing of the town, was totally destroyed at the beginning of the occupation.


At the beginning of 1941, a ghetto was established in the southern part of the town, about 6,000 – 7,000 Jews from Zwolen itself and from neighbouring villages were concentrated in the ghetto.


Because virtually the entire town had been destroyed by the German attacks in September 1939 the ghetto was not closed, but those people that left the Ghetto area searching for food were in many cases caught and shot.

In 1942, a group of young men and women were selected in Zwolen and sent to a work camp in Skarzysko – Kamienna. This camp belonged to the HASAG company and prisoners worked there producing munitions for the German army.

The final liquidation of the Zwolen ghetto took place on 29 September 1942, the Jews were made to walk 15 kilometres to the Garbatka railway station and from there they were deported to the death camp at Treblinka.

Young Jewish girl amidst the ruins of Zwolen 1939

Nebenstelle Zwolen

During this final liquidation of the ghetto and on the march to the railway station, about 200 Jews were executed. Many of the old and sick people who were not able to walk to the Garbatka railway station were killed at the Jewish cemetery.

Also among those shot on the spot were those that attempted to escape. A group of approximately 100 Jews were left in Zwolen to clean up the former ghetto area, and once this task was completed, all of them were sent to a nearby labour camp.

In 1944 the Jewish cemetery was destroyed and during its destruction the Germans destroyed any traces of the mass executions that had been carried out there.










Pawel Nakonieczny
Robin Cohen


Robin Cohen – Family Collection
Holocaust Historical Sciety
Yad Vashem



Copyright: Noah S. Archer H.E.A.R.T 2007



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