Sosnowiec is a city in southwest Poland. At the start of World War II, its population was 130,000, including 28,000 Jews. The Germans entered the town on September 4, 1939. Shortly thereafter, a Judenrat was formed. Deportations to Auschwitz began in the Spring of 1942. The Ghetto was formed in October, 1942, and was liquidated in August, 1943. During the liquidation, most of the residents were sent to Auschwitz. The balance of the Jews were placed in a work camp which was formed in the area of the former ghetto. The labor camp was liquidated in January, 1944.
Mail in the ghetto was handled by the Judenrat. At a special mail collection point, the mail was checked by ghetto inmates to ensure that it contained nothing that would incur the displeasure of the Germans. When it passed this internal censorship, the mail received the "Z" stamp. After that, the mail was often stamped with a ghetto receiving stamp. From there it was forwarded to a German post office.
Below are thumbnails of the front of two covers. The first is a cover dated October 4, 1942, from the Sosnowitz Judenrat food distribution office to a Jewish firm under Aryan commissar ownership. The second cover is a registered cover dated in February, 1941, from the office of the leader of the Jewish community in Sosnowiec to the famous Jewish financier, Felix Warburg, in care of the American Joint Distribution Committee. The cover is is backstamped with German censor marks and arrival postmarks in New York. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Covers" in the left frame to return.
Below are thumbnails of the front and back of two postcards sent from the ghetto to the same inmate at the slave labor camp for women at Gross Rosen working at the Christian Derig AG chemical factory. The first is postmarked May 4, 1943, with the 3-line cachet from the Aeltestenrat. The Card is stamped with the letter "Z" which indicates that the sender was a Jew. The second is postmarked July 13, 1943. The card is stamped with the letter "Z". Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Postcards" in the left frame to return.
Below is a thumbnail of the front of a document from the Judenrat in Sosnowitz dated December 1, 1941, to the American Joint Distribution Committee in Lisbon. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Ghetto Documents" in the left frame to return.
Encyclopedia Judaica, CD Rom Edition
Spector, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust (2001), P. 1220-22
Museum of Tolerance On Line Learning Center
Copyright © 2004 Edward Victor