1 Execution site(s)
Jozef Z., born in 1924: “When we arrived at the site, the dimensions of the pit were already marked on the soil. It was 12m long, 8m wide and 4m deep. I don’t remember how it was marked out. To be honest, I didn’t pay attention to that. I don’t think I even really saw it. ” (Witness n°325, interviewed in Kossaki-Borowe on Mai, 16th 2016)
Gosie Male (Kolaki Koscielne) is located 60 km west of Bialystok. There is no information on the presence of Jewish inhabitants in the village before the war. During the Second World War, 1,000 Jews native to Rutki-Kossaki and Zambrow were killed there. Rutki-Kossaki is located 11 km northeast of Gosie Male. The first Jews to settle in Rutki-Kossaki appeared in the 19th century. From 1921 onwards, the Jewish community became quite significant, 747 Catholics lived in the town and 809 Jews. In 1939, out of 3,000 people, half were Jewish. The majority of them lived of small scale trade and handicraft. Zambrow is located 16 km southwest of Gosie Male. It appears that Jews settled in the area in the 17th century and the community grew over the course of time. By 1897, 2,400 out of 3,800 inhabitants were Jewish, making up 63% of the total population. On the eve of the war, 3,500 Jews lived in the town, comprising almost the half of the total population. The majority of them were merchants and craftsmen. The area was occupied by the Nazis in early September 1939.
First the area was occupied by the Red Army in September 1939. In June 1941, with the rollout of Operation Barbarossa, the area was taken over by the Germans. Many civilians, including Jews, died during the bombings in Zambrow in September 1939. There is no information regarding the presence of Jewish inhabitants in the village before the war. During the Second World War, 1,000 Jews native to Rutki-Kossaki and Zambrow were killed there. The persecutions of Jews started shortly after the occupation. All the Jews were first marked with armbands in July 1941 and were forbidden to leave town’s territory. The executions would follow and took place in the forest of Czerwony Bor. One of the biggest mass executions took place on August 19, 1941, when 700, then 1,000 Jews were killed by the Security Police in the forest near the village of Rzasnik Lubotynski. Shortly after tha,t an open ghetto was created, with circa. 2,000 Jewish detainees. In late September the ghetto was fenced in. On September 6, 1941, about 300 Jews including some pregnant women anther group of Jews were executed. They were rounded up under the pretext of being taken to work, but in reality, they were to be executed in the forest near the village of Gosie along with 450 Jews from Rutki Kossaki and some from Kolaki itself. The ghetto was liquidated on November 1-2, 1942. The remaining Jews were transferred to the newly created transit camp, before being sent to Auschwitz in the winter of 1943. Only ten Jews survived Auschwitz.
For more information about the execution of Zambrow Jews please refer to the profile of Rzasnik Lubotynski
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