KOLO: Wielkopolskie Print

Coat of arms of Koło

Alternate names: Koło [Pol], Koil [Yid], Kohlo, Koyl, Kuyl, Warthbrücken [Ger, 1941-45], Коло [Rus], and , קאָלאָKoil (Yiddish]. 52°11' N, 18°37' E, 47 miles NW of Łódź, 38 miles NE of Kalisz, 15 miles E of Konin. Yizkors: Sefer Kolo; Funfhundert yor Yiddish Kolo (Tel Aviv, 1958), Azoy zenen zey umgekumen - Kakh hem nispu (Israel, 1974), Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland vol. 1: The communities of Lodz and its region (Jerusalem, 1976). Koło, a town on the Warta River in central Poland with 23,101 inhabitants in 2006, is situated in the Greater Poland Voivodship since 1999 and previously in Konin Voivodship (1975-1998), and it is the capital of Koło County. Jews lived here in the 15th century and in 1564 received the right of residence from King Sigismund II Augustus. In 1611,  24 Jews owned houses in Kolo. The synagogue was built in 1763-65. 19th century economic development of the town was strongly influenced by Jews who owned workshops and factories for dyed cloth, bricks, porcelain, agricultural machinery, and oil. Jewish population: 1,184 (37.2%) in 1827; 4,013 (42.8%) in 1897; 5,154 (45%) in 1921; about 6,000 (44%) in 1931; and 5,000 (41.6%) in 1939. In the interwar period, the Jews continued active in business life; in 1938, 37.7% of the workshops in the town were Jewish-owned. Antisemitism during the 1930s forced them out of several occupations. Eight Jews among 24 members were elected to the municipal council in 1924 and ten in 1929. Germans occupied the town on September 15, 1939 (second day of Rosh Hashanah). The next day, the Germans raided Jewish homes; all men were sent to do slave labor on the Warta River bridges that had been blown up by the Polish army. The Germans set fire to the synagogue, accused the Jews of arson, and extorted a large sum of money. The Jewish intelligentsia was arrested; and anyone caught hiding was executed. Two hostages were taken daily. In December 1939, 1,139 Jews were forced out of their homes, starved and left in frigid barracks for weeks, then deported to the Lublin district. Their homes were turned over to Volksdeutsche brought from the Baltic regions. In 1940, 150 Jewish families were expelled from Kolo with a ghetto  established for the remainder. A typhoid epidemic and slave labor were the ghetto. In June 1941, all the Jewish males were deported to the labor camp near Poznan. In August about 100 girls were sent to a labor camp in Breslau. Liquidation of the Kolo ghetto took place early in December 1941 when the remaining 2,300 Jews were sent to the death camp at Chelmno. Kolo remained a transfer point for Jews deported to Lodz. Nazis, including Heinrich Himmler, visited the town. [May 2009]

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Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2009 03:55