KOLO (Koło): Wielkopolskie Print

Coat of arms of Koło

Alternate names: Koło [Pol], Koil [Yid], Kohlo, Koyl, Kuyl, Warthbrücken [Ger, 1941-45]. Russian: Коло. קאָלאָ-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 is a town on the Warta River in central Poland with 23,101 inhabitants in 2006. In the Greater Poland Voivodship since 1999, having previously been in Konin Voivodship (1975-1998), it is the capital of Koło County. The town evolved as a regional trade and crafts center especially for metals and textiles.  In the 16th century as a suburb of Zduny (with mainly potters on the right bank of the Warta river), separate municipal autonomy was granted in 1559. In 1564, the king granted the Jews the right to reside in Kolo. The same taxes and monies due to the monarchy as were obligatory on all residents equally. In 1571, a contract was drawn up between the Jews and the Christian town residents that in return for a yearly tax paid to the town hall, they would protect the Jews from attack. In 1593, the town agreed not to imprison Jews sentenced to serve, in their prison, if the Jewish community leaders would act as their guarantor. In 1729, a yearly head tax of 150 zloty was imposed on the community reaching 300 zloty in 1738. During the Polish nationalist rebellion under Kosciuszko in 1794, the Jews were forced to provide all kinds of services for the fighting men, and to pay the salaries of emissaries and spies from their crafts and commerce. Industrialization brought significant change to the Jewish community. In 1897, 52% of the Jews earned their living from commerce and 23% from crafts and industry. Most of the merchants (35%) traded in grain and other agricultural produce (226 families). The rest traded woven materials, garments, beverages. 60% worked in the clothing industry, 12% in food production, and the rest from weaving, knitting, metal and building.  In 1864, Jews owned a large factory producing colored cloth that employed 33. They also owned two pottery works employing over one hundred. They set up a brick-factory, two printing houses, and a number of small factories. The Haskalah was strong in Kolo. Koło was destroyed twice, once in 1622 by the Lisowski forces, and in 1655 by the Swedes. The economy revived only at the end of the 17th century. In the early 20th century, the Jewish population was almost 50 percent of the total. When the Nazis occupied , all males over the age of 14 were sent to forced labor. In December 1940, the Jews were rounded up in a ghetto, which was liquidated in December 1941 when the remaining Jews were deported to Chełmno nad Nerem, where they were shot or gassed and buried in mass graves. Kolo remained a transfer point for Jews deported to Lodz. Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler, visited the town. Holocaust history. [June 2009]

KOLO I:     US Commission No. POCE000695

Koto is in region Konin, 30 km. from Konin. Cemetery: at Plac Narutowicza, ul. Stowackiego. Present town population is 25,000-100,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Burmistrz (Mayor), Czestawa Gutkowska, Urzad Miasta, ul. Sienkiewicza 23, Kolo, tel. #22-311.
  • Local: Miejski Dom Kultury, Dir. Halina Grabowska, ul. Stowackiego 5, Kolo.
  • Regional: Ireno Sobierojsko, P.S.O Z Konin.
  • Interested: Muzeum Technik Ceramicznych (Museum of Ceramics Technology), ul. Kajki 44, Koto, tel. 21559. Director, Dr. Jozef Mujta, may have aditional information.

In 1564, Jews were granted the priviledge for settling in Koto. In 1593, Jews of Koto got the equal rights. 1939, Jewish population was 4,560, 35%. The cemetery was established in the 16th century with last known Orthodox or Progressive/Reform Jewish burial around 1935. The isolated urban crown of a hill has no sign or marker. The cemetery is open to all. Before World War II, the cemetery was approximately 2.17 ha. No gravestones are visible. Three sets of removed concrete stones with Hebrew inscriptions are located on Rolna St. in Koto. Municipality owns property is now used as a House of Culture. Properties adjacent are residential. The present site of the cemetery is smaller because of construction of the House of Culture and a swimming pool. Occasionally, private visitors and local residents stop. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II, but not in the last ten years. There is no maintenance. Security and incompatible planned development are very serious threats. The construction of the swimming pool has just started. Luga Pawlicka-Nowak, 11 Listopada St 15/76, 62 510 Konin, tel. 434356 completed survey September 5, 1992, using literature, interviews and documentation at PSOZ in Konin.
Lucja Pawlicka Nowak visited the site on September 5, 1992. The director of the Ceramics Museum was interviewed.

KOLO II:     US Commission No. POCE000696

This cemetery is located at ul. Powstancow Wielkopolskich and ul. Polegtych. This cemetery was established around 1935 with the last known Orthodox or Progressive/Reform Jewish burial around 1939. The cemetery is landmarked in the Register of Memorial Sites as well as a War Cemetery. The urban crown of a hill is part of a municipal cemetery. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all. A continuous masonry wall with non-locking gate surrounds. Both before and after World War II, the size of the cemetery is around 2 ha. No stones are visible. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Soviet soldiers and pilots. The municipality owns the cemetery. Properties adjacent are residential and kitchen gardens. Frequently, local residents visit. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II. Local authorities cleared vegetation and fixed the wall and gate in 1983-1986. Regular caretaker is Urzad Miasta (Municipality) and Przedsigbiorstwo Gospodarlu Komunalnej (Workshop for Communal Administration). There are no structures. No threats.

Lucja Pawlicka-Nowak completed survey August 21, 1992 and visited on August 21 and October 13, 1992. Literature, maps in the archives, interviews and documentation at the PSOZ. Dr. Jozef Mujta was interviewed 8/21/1992.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 June 2009 13:38