The book is devoted to the memory of the Poles whom the Nazis expelled from the Zamosc region. It concentrates on the fate of the people deported to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. There is a general introduction on the aims of the deportation and the way it was carried out. Tables with information on over 1,000 deportees list their names, dates and places of birth, occupations, and subsequent fates. The book also includes photographs, documents, and an appendix containing recollections by survivors.
The tragedy that befell the population of the Zamosc region during the Nazi occupation was connected with the Third Reich’s plans for the germanization of the Polish eastern lands, which the Nazis regarded as “German living space” (Lebensraum). This policy was reflected in the General Plan East (Generalplan Ost) and envisioned the germanization, expulsion, and physical extermination of some 50 million Slavs (Poles, Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, and others) over a period of 20 to 30 years. German settlers would colonize extensive tracts of Central and Eastern Europe, beginning in Poland. The Nazis decided to begin the germanization in the “Lublin District,” of which the area traditionally known as the Zamosc region was a part. Next, the Germans intended to colonize more Polish territory and create a “German bulwark” along the Bug river, extending northwards to the Baltic countries. To the south of the Zamosc region, this “German bulwark” would run all the way to Transylvania, in Romania.
The majority of the Jews living in the Zamosc region had already been murdered in “Operation Reinhardt,” mostly at the Bełżec death camp. The Poles living in the area were to be sent away to forced labor, with those classified as unfit being deported to the concentration camps, where they could quickly be eliminated. The Germans assigned 140,000 Poles for deportation. The expulsion operation began in November 1942 and went on until the following March. By then about 41,000 people had been deported from 116 villages, with 1,301 being deported to Auschwitz, where 80% of them died. A range of factors, including the steadily deteriorating German position on the eastern front after the defeat at Stalingrad and the strengthening resistance movement in the Zamosc region, led to the cessation of the deportation campaign.
The author, Helena Kubica, is on the staff of the Historical Research Department at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. The book is published in cooperation with the National Remembrance Institute.
This publication is available in English and Polish.