Nowy Zmigrod


In south-east Poland, there is a small community 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 of 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 famine and disease ravaged the ghetto and therefore the Germans decided to do a purge.

On July 7, 1942, all Jews were ordered to appear in the square, where the Germans were considered to be able to work were separated from the rest. After a few hours, 1,250 Jews who had become redundant were taken to a forest area 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 of the germans was carried out and some Jews 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 kind of in the middle of nowhere and about 200 meters into the forest seen from the road. Among all the extermination camps set up on Polish soil by the Germans, it is easy that such execution sites where the victims were few in comparison are forgotten. 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).