Zambrów

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Zambrów
Parish church of the Holy Trinity
Parish church of the Holy Trinity
Flag of Zambrów
Flag
Coat of arms of Zambrów
Coat of arms
Zambrów is located in Poland
Zambrów
Zambrów
Coordinates: 52°59′N 22°15′E / 52.983°N 22.250°E / 52.983; 22.250
Country  Poland
Voivodeship Podlaskie
County Zambrów County
Gmina Zambrów (urban gmina)
City rights 1430
Government
 • Mayor Kazimierz Jan Dąbrowski
Area
 • Total 19.02 km2 (7.34 sq mi)
Highest elevation 133 m (436 ft)
Lowest elevation 115 m (377 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total 22,700
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 18-300 to 18-301
Area code(s) +48 086
Car plates BZA
Website http://www.zambrow.pl

Zambrów [ˈzambruf] ( ) is a town in northeastern Poland with 22,933 inhabitants (2003). It is the capital of Zambrów County. Situated in the Podlaskie Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Łomża Voivodeship (1975–1998).

History[edit]

The name of the town comes from the term ząbr, which means a place where żubrs (European bison) gather. The first mention of the town comes from 1283. Back then the town was the property of the Masovian Dukes, and it got its city laws (Chełm law) in 1430. The greatest development of the city came during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Swedish Deluge brought an end to the prosperity of the city as much of it was destroyed. During both the January and November Uprising against Russia, the area was witness to battles against Russian forces, and as a result of persecutions by the Tsarist regime, the city was deprived of its city rights in 1870, and two Russian regiments of infantry were stationed in the town. Throughout the First World War the area again faced much destruction. The Polish 1st Legion's Infantry Regiment under the command of Edward Rydz-Śmigły was stationed in the town during 1917. After Poland regained its independence, city rights were restored in 1919. During the inter-war years the city was linked to the military: the 71st Infantry Regiment was stationed there and the town was home to a military school.

Zambrow is famous for being a town where there was a large amount of Bisons located across the plains of this great city.

World War II and Zambrów massacre[edit]

In 1939 the population of the town was over 7,000 people, over half of them Jews - many of whom had populated the town in the late 19th century from neighboring Jewish communities in the Łomża gubernya, such as Jablonka Koscielna. Between 10 and 13 September the area was the fighting ground of the Polish 18th Infantry Division commanded by Colonel Stefan Kossecki and German XIX Panzer Corps under the command of General Guderian.

Polish soldiers from 33, 71, and 42 Infantry regiments were taken prisoner. They were then taken to the square of the city barracks that was used for exercises. On 13 September 1939 the number of Polish PoWs was about 4,000. In the corners of the square machine guns were put on cars, and behind them horses were kept that belonged to the Polish unit. During the whole night light reflectors were beamed upon the square. On the night of 13/14 September when Polish prisoners started to lie down to sleep, the German captors informed them that anybody that on that night who tried to rise or move from his place would be shot on the spot. After that information horses stormed the square, trampling the sleeping soldiers on the ground. In panic many Poles tried to escape, but the Germans immediately opened fire with machine guns into the crowd: this lasted over 10 minutes and ended only when some German soldiers were wounded by mistake. When the shooting stopped, the Germans again informed the Polish POWs that no movement was allowed. During the whole night wounded and dying were crying for help, but no medical assistance was given. In the morning there were 200 dead and 100 wounded. According to the witness reports the horses were either driven by the Germans or blinded by the reflector lights.

During the occupation a ghetto was established for the Zambrów Jews by German authorities. When the war ended the population of the town was 4,130 out of 7,620. According to rough estimates, war destruction reached the level of 43 per cent.

Notable residents[edit]

  • Shlomo Goren (1917–94), head of the Military Rabbinate of the Israel Defense Forces, and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
  • Józef Michalik (born in 1941), Roman Catholic archbishop and the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference

International relations[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Zambrów is twinned with:

References[edit]

  • Szymon Datner Zbrodnie Wehrmachtu na jeńcach wojennych w II wojnie światowej 1961.

Coordinates: 52°59′N 22°15′E / 52.983°N 22.250°E / 52.983; 22.250