Gołonóg developed as a mining village. Both the industry and the workers employed in the mines were supplied by Jewish merchants. The 1897 census carried out by the tsarist authorities showed the presence of 56 Jews in Gołonóg, constituting 10.6% of the total population.[1.1] Jewish people mainly lived in the densely populated area near the railway station. They were subordinate to the Będzin kehilla.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Gołonóg significantly grew in size, but it never formed an independent kehilla or ran any social organisations. On 10 September 1910, the tsarist authorities gave the local Jews permission to become members of the newly established kehilla in Dąbrowa, which also comprised the Jewish population of Huta Bankowa, the Reden colony, and the village of Gołonóg. During World War I, in 1914, Gołonóg was seized by the Austrian army. The local Jews took advantage of the situation and established a prayer house in a building rented from a Christian named Pranus. Later, they also established a mikveh. Wolf Gryn and Dawid Gruszczyński led prayers at the beth midrash, while Szmul Szajntal was the cantor. There was also a cheder operating at the prayer house.

Among the erstwhile Jewish inhabitants of Gołonóg were: Lajbl Gnut, Dawid Groszyński, Icze Hipszer, Jechiel Jakubowicz, Mendel Zonszajn (known as Małe Mendele), Szmul Binder and the Baumgarten family. The owners of grocery shops were: Lajbisz Gnut, Nisan Baumgarten, Baruch Płachciński, Jankl Jura, Naftali Kaczka from Włoszczów, and the Cohen family. Mendle Zonszajn, Joszua Zonszajn, and Awigdor Segregator were tailors. There were also several butchers: Zindl Fersztenfeld, his son Abram, Melech Fuks, Jechezkiel Zaks (who drowned in the mikveh in 1923), Szlomo Dancyger, Szmul Szajntal (sausage maker), and Hilel.[1.2]

The end of World War I saw the rebirth of the Polish state on 11 November 1918, with Gołonóg incorporated into the Polish territory. In 1939, ca. 600 Jews lived in the town.

On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, thus starting World War II. German troops marched into Gołonóg in the very first days of the war. At the beginning of 1940, the occupation authorities developed a plan known as Generalplan Ost, which provided for the gradual total extermination of Jews and the Roma in conquered Polish territories and the displacement of a large part of the Polish population to the East. The remaining Poles were to be exploited as slave labour in German industry and agriculture. The plan first began to be implemented in Greater Poland, Pomerania, and Silesia. In Upper Silesia, Jews were to be transported to the General Government, but after the local authorities refused to comply with the instructions, a network of ghettos was created. At the beginning of 1940, the largest ghettos were created in Będzin and Sosnowiec. They were in fact “reserves of labour force” catering to forced labour camps throughout Silesia.[1.3]

In October 1940, Boruch Płachciński became the chairman of the Judenrat in Gołonóg. The body was subject to the Central Jewish Council of Elders of Eastern Upper Silesia (Central Judenrat for Eastern Upper Silesia) in Sosnowiec. As of 1 October 1940, 139 Jews lived in Gołonóg.[1.4]

Starting from October 1940, the system of forced labour of Silesian Jews was managed by Albrecht Schmelt – Special Representative of Reichsführer SS and Chief of the German Police for the Employment of Foreign Nationalities in Upper Silesia. Contingents of Jewish workers were to be formed by the special Forced Labour Department, which until mid-1941 was headed by Majer Brzeski. Groups of young Jews were then directed to forced labour camps in Regierungsbezirk Kattowitz and Regierungsbezirk Oppeln. In 1940, the concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau was established by virtue of an order of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler. It was to become the source supplying slave labour to the Upper Silesian Industrial Region and the Dąbrowa Basin.

In May 1942, the Germans organised a massive deportation of Silesian Jews to the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. A total of ca. 130 Jews from Gołonóg were first transported to the ghetto in Dąbrowa and then sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Bibliography

  • Geshuri M. S., Book of Sosnowiec and the surrounding region in Zaglebie, vol. I, Tel Aviv 1973.
  • “Golonóg,” [in:] Sefer Sosnowiec v'hasviva b'Zagłębie, ed. M. S. Gashury (Brukner), Tel-Aviv 1973 [online] https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/sosnowiec/sos342.html [Accessed: 9 Sep 2020].
  • Namysło A., Zanim nadeszła Zagłada... Żydzi w Zagłębiu Dąbrowskim w okresie okupacji niemieckiej, Sosnowiec 2008.
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Meir Shimon Geshuri, Book of Sosnowiec and the surrounding region in Zaglebie, vol. I, Tel Aviv 1973, p. 344
  • [1.2] “Golonóg,” [in:] Sefer Sosnowiec v'hasviva b'Zagłębie, ed. M. S. Gashury (Brukner), Tel-Aviv 1973, p. 342 [online] https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/sosnowiec/sos342.html [Accessed: 9 Sep 2020].
  • [1.3] Świerkosz K., “Żydzi w obozach hitlerowskich na Śląsku Opolskim podczas II wojny światowej,” [in:] 45. Rocznica powstania w getcie warszawskim (19431988), materiały z sesji popularno-naukowej, Opole 1988.
  • [1.4] Namysło A., Zanim nadeszła Zagłada... Żydzi w Zagłębiu Dąbrowskim w okresie okupacji niemieckiej, Sosnowiec 2008, p. 12.