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WOLBROM , town in Cracow province, Poland. Jews settled there at the end of the 17th century. An organized Jewish community existed from the 18th century under the jurisdiction of the Cracow community. In 1765 there were 303 Jews in Wolbrom who paid the poll tax. The town was incorporated in Congress Poland in 1815. In 1827 the Jews numbered 724 (27% of the total population). Following the economic development of the town in the 19th century, the number of Jews increased to 1,466 (59%), despite the restrictions on Jewish settlement in force there between 1823 and 1862, because of the town's proximity to the Austrian border. The main occupations of the Jews were petty commerce, weaving, tanning, and locksmithing. In the 19th century Ḥasidism had a strong influence in Wolbrom. Between 1897 and 1921 the number of the Jews increased from 2,901 to 4,276 (59%). Before the outbreak of war in 1939, there were about 5,000 Jews living in Wolbrom.

Holocaust Period

During World War ii, under the German occupation, Wolbrom came under the province of Cracow of the General Government. The Germans entered Wolbrom on the first day of the war, Sept. 1, 1939. Scores of people were immediately shot. Afterward all the Jewish inhabitants were driven out of Wolbrom in the direction of Zawiercie. On the three-day march many succumbed to torture by the guards. On September 7 the surviving Jews returned and were set at forced labor, particularly in the forests. In the fall of 1941 a ghetto was established in Wolbrom which the Jews were forbidden to leave, under pain of death. Nearly 8,000 Jews, among them about 3,000 deportees and refugees, were concentrated inside the ghetto. The liquidation of the Jews in Wolbrom ghetto began on Sept. 6 or 7, 1942, when the German police and Ukrainians drove all the Jews to the railway station, where the Germans carried out a Selektion. About 2,000 old and weak persons were taken to the forest where mass graves had been made ready. After undressing completely, they were shot. The remaining Jews at the station were loaded on to train cars that evening. At the stopovers the Germans cast away the corpses of those who had suffocated in the cars. The deportees were taken to *Belzec death camp. Some hundreds of men were chosen by selection and transported to labor camps. After the liquidation of the Jewish community in Wolbrom, the Jewish cemetery became the site of executions for Jews found or denounced while hiding. From mid-September 1942 until the end of 1944 nearly 400 Jews were shot in this manner.

Only some 300 Jews from Wolbrom survived the war. They did not resettle in Wolbrom, and most of them emigrated.


Halpern, Pinkas, index; R. Mahler, Yidn in Amolikn Poyln in Likht fun Tsifern (1958), index; B. Wasiutyński, Ludność żydowksa w Polsce w wiekach xix i xx (1930), 53; Lands-manshaften in Israel (1961), 78–79; E. Podhovizer-Sandel, in: bŻih, no. 30 (1959), passim.

[Danuta Dombrowska]