In October 1940, the Ghetto was established by the Germans on the outskirts of the city in the Sosnówka district and covered "the area from the level crossing, along the railway tracks at Wilsona Street to Kobyłka, to Wspólna Street and further along the road from Kobyłka to Wołomin (current Warsaw road), then to Wiejska Street, Glinki Street and Cementowa Street up to the crossing in Wołomin"[1.1]. The resettlement action ended in mid-November.
Some 2,700 or 2,800 people were crowded into the newly created "Jewish quarter"[1.2], including about 600 displaced persons from Pułtusk, Wyszków, Serock and Nasielsk. The occupier entrusted administrative matters to the Jewish Council – the so-called Judenrat – whose headquarters were located at 17 Nałkowskiego Street. The chairman was Jakow Blumberg
On 21 December 1940, an order was issued forbidding Jews from leaving the ghetto area and Poles from entering it, with the exception of the chairman of the Jewish Council and his deputy, a doctor and one messenger. Otherwise, Jewish workers were allowed to leave if they presented passes issued by the Arbeitsamt of Wołomin. Violation of the order was punishable by a fine of 1,000 zloty, imprisonment or forced labour[1.3]].
Initially, the Wołomin ghetto was not strictly isolated from the city. This allowed for bilateral trade and movement of food from the so-called "Aryan side". Eventually (first half of 1941), the Jews were cut off from the outside world with barbed wire. The ghetto entered a period of misery, hunger, disease and terror.
Szloma Bronsztajn, a native of Wołomin, describes the Gehenna of the Jewish population of Wołomin as follows:
The real distress in the ghetto began after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war. The ghetto was closed, fenced off with barbed wire. Any Jew encountered outside the ghetto was immediately shot (...) Jews, however, continued to take a risk and go outside the ghetto in order to bring some grain or potatoes to sustain life, as it was impossible to survive on Jewish ration cards. They were lead out by hunger. Dozens of people fell victim to this every day. (...) There was an epidemic of spotted fever and many other diseases in the ghetto, which took away hundreds of lives[1.4].
In February 1941, the number of Jews confined in the ghetto rose to 3,000. Germany imposed a fine of 2,000 zloty for smuggling food. People who were caught, including children, were murdered on the spot.
The liquidation of the ghetto in Wołomin took place on 3 October 1942. On the same day, the Radzymin and Legionowo-Jabłonna ghettos were liquidated. Jews from these three villages were sent to the gas chambers in the German Nazi extermination camp in Treblinka on one rail transport on this day.
According to the "Biuletyn Informacyjny" [News Bulletin] published by the Home Army Headquarters of 22 October 1942, among those participating in the deportation action were also local firefighters:
"News of the mass murder of Jews is coming from all directions, but none of it is as terrible as what is reported to us from Wołomin and Stoczek. The Wołomin fire brigade and the scum of the population of Stoczek, who took an active part in the destruction of the Jews, earned themselves a dreadful page in history by aiding and abetting the mass murder, seeking out those in hiding, and leading the looting"[1.5].
In that place, the Germans shot several hundred people – according to various sources between 416 and 620, including many elderly and sick people. Their bodies were buried in a mass grave, still unmarked today, near J. Korsak Street.
- Kielak T., Tragiczne losy ludności żydowskiej w Wołominie w latach 1939–1943, Wołomin 2008.
- Stryjek J., Zagłada wołomińskich Żydów [in:] "Rocznik Wołomiński", no. XII, Wołomin 2016, pp. 77–89.
- [1.1] Kielak T., Tragiczne losy ludności żydowskiej w Wołominie w latach 1939-1943, "Rocznik Wołomiński", vol. 4, Wołomin 2008.
- [1.2] Wołomin aka Sosnówka [in:] Encyclopedia of camps and ghettos 1933-1945, vol. II, part A, ed. M. Dean, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 2012, p. 467
- [1.3] Stryjek J. Zagłada wołomińskich Żydów [in:] "Rocznik Wołomiński" no. XII p.84 [Accessed 16 February 2023
- [1.4] Archive of the Jewish Historical Institute, File No. 301/874, Account by Sz. Bronsztajn.
- [1.5] "Biuletyn Informacyjny" of 22 October 1942, no. 41 (145), p. 6.