Nowy Zmigrod

In south-east Poland, there is a village called Nowy Zmigrod, which at the outbreak of the Second World War had a Jewish population of about 800 Jews. When the Germans occupied Zmigrod, anti-Semitic laws were introduced that worsened the living conditions for the Jews and they were also used for slave labor. There were sporadic executions of Jews. In early 1942, a ghetto was established for the Jews, including Jews from nearby villages. In the summer, about 2,000 Jews lived in the ghetto. Only Jews with special work permits were allowed to leave the ghetto. The large number of Jews meant that starvation and diseases could spread uncontrolled, not only threatning the ghetto, but also nearby villages. The Nazis therefore decided to drastically reduce the number of Jews living in the ghetto. 

On July 7, 1942, all Jews were ordered to appear in the square. There the Germans seperated those Jews they deemed able to work from the rest. After a few hours, 1,250 Jews who had become redundant were taken to a forest in Halbow, about seven kilometers south of Zmigrod. There the Germans had dug mass graves in which the Jews were shot and buried. In mid-August, a new selection was carried out and Jews deemed for work were sent to camps in Krakow while those who were redundant were sent to the Belzec extermination camp where they were murdered in the gas chamber of the camp.

Current status: Monument (2019).

Location: 49°31'58.12"N 21°29'54.72"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The site is well maintained and is located in the middle of nowhere, about 200 meters into the forest from the road. Among all extermination camps set up on Polish soil, it can be easy to forget that shooting also took place. Shootings are otherwise something more associated with the Holocaust in the former Soviet union. But there were shootings in parallel with the gas chambers in Poland, albeit not in the same size and scope, but they occurred more often than we might think.

Follow up in books: Gilbert, Martin: The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (1987).