Apart from the Zamość inhabitants, Jews who came from many other towns were imprisoned in the Zamość ghetto, as well as those forced to leave western Poland and who were transported here since October 1939[4.1]. Since the moment when the decision was taken about creating a “reserve” in Lubelszczyzna for the European Jews, the zamojskie ghetto received also numerous shipments of Jews forced to leave Reichsgau Wartheland, as well as Germany and Austria. By the end of 1941 there were about 7,000 Jews, in zamojskie ghetto, 2,500 of them were people coming from outside of the town, and in April 1942, before the first forced emigration action, the number reached 7,200 – 7,300 people[4.2].
The ghetto's dissolution started in the Spring of 1942. The first mass deportation took place on 11 April, on the eve of the Passover holiday. It concerned about 3,000 people who were transported in cattle train wagons to the concentration camp in Bełżec. This forced migration had the character of an exchange action (Austauschaktion), that is “sending to the east” a number of local Jews in order to prepare space for people of Jewish origin deported by the General Government from Western Europe, among others from Austria, present Czech Republic and Germany[4.3]. The Zamość ghetto, located on the transit line to Bełżec became a transit ghetto. Further deportations from the ghetto took place on 21 May, 11 August, in September and on 16 October 1942. In total, about 9,000 Jews were transported from Zamość to Bełżec[4.4]. The final forced emigration from the Zamość ghetto took place between 16 to 18 October 1942, when the remaining 4,000 Jews were forced to go on foot to the ghetto in Izbica. Most of them were transported from Izbica to Bełżec, Sobibór and murdered in gas chambers.
It is difficult to determine the precise number of Jews from Zamość who survived the Holocaust and the war. According to data from the Main Jewish Committee in Poland, in May 1945, 224 Jews lived in Zamość. A year later this number dropped to 152, and in 1947 there were only 5 Jewish inhabitants in the city. Most of the survivors were those who left the city in the first days of the war, together with the withdrawing Soviet Army and emigrated to the east. According to the Zamość Memorial Book only 50 people from the Zamość ghetto managed to survive.
[4.1] Ibidem, p. 39.
[4.2] Ibidem, p. 39-58; an important source of statistical-demographic character concerning the Jewish community in Zamość during the occupation period is published in Jerusalem in 2001 detailed list of 10,000 Jews living in 1940 in Zamość.: Everlasting Name. Zamość Ghetto Population List – 1940, under red. E. Bar-Zeew, Tel Awiw 2001.
[4.3] A. Kopciowski, Zagłada Żydów…,., p. 58.
[4.4] R. Kuwałek, Z Lublina do Bełżca. Ślady obecności i zagłady Żydów na południowo-wschodniej Lubelszczyźnie, Lublin 2006, p. 21.
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