A Guide to Zamość

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The Second World War

The Second World War had a very tragic impact on Zamość and the region. In the first half of September 1939, during Nazi air strikes, over 200 residents of the town were killed. On 13 September Nazi troops occupied Zamość and after they left Soviet troops arrived here and stayed in the town for over a week, i.e. from 27 September till 5 October. Nazi troops returned to the place on 8 October 1939. The first executions were carried out in autumn and in December a ghetto for Jewish residents of the town was established. In 1940 the Nazis arrested many intellectuals and social activists as part of the operation code-named AB and set up a prison camp in the Rotunda. When the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union broke out in 1941, the Nazis set up camps for Russian prisoners in Okrzei Street and in Karolówka in Zamość.  Later the camp located in Okrzei Street was transferred to Powiatowa Street. It is estimated that over 30 thousand people starved or were shot dead in both camps.

The Nazis had planned to establish a “German Settlement District” in Zamość Region, which meant that the Poles who lived in the region had to be displaced and settlers of German origin, mostly from Eastern Europe had to be brought  here. As a result, special camps for displaced Poles were set up in Zamość, mainly in Okrzei Street. In all, about 110 thousand people were displaced from 300 villages. Children faced the most tragic fate; thousands of them died of starvation and cold. In response to the terror used against Polish people powerful partisan groups came into existence in the region.  On 30 December 1942 near Zamość, in a place called Wojda the first big partisan battle took place and in a place called Osuchy the largest partisan battle in Poland was fought from 24 till 26 June 1944.

Before the war nearly 12 thousand Jews lived in Zamość. About 2/3 of them left Zamość in 1939 with Soviet troops and the rest were murdered in an extermination camp in Bełżec, located 40 km from Zamość. The Rotunda, where 8 thousand people were murdered, is now a mausoleum of war victims from Zamość Region.  By the entrance to the Town Hall there is a Grunwald cross which was granted to Zamość on 12 October 1944 in recognition of the heroism of the residents in their fight against Nazi invaders.

The martyrdom of Zamość region is also described in the section devoted to The Rotunda (bookmark entitled “Places worth seeing in the town” and in “Monuments in Zamość”).

The project was co-financed by the EUROPEAN UNION - EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND under REGIONAL OPERATING PROGRAMME OF THE PROVINCE OF LUBELSKIE FOR 2007-2013© Zamość Town Office