The tiny town
of Opole, in the Lublin vicinity of Poland, had a Jewish
population of 4,325 before the German conquest, two thirds
of the town's total population. Perhaps because of its
Jewish majority, in the summer of 1940 the Nazis ordered a
ghetto to be constructed there, whose population more than
doubled as transports of Jews arrived from Austria and
elsewhere. In May of 1942, most were deported to the Sobibór
death camp, and those who remained were murdered by the
Nazis in late October. The small Dombrowa Jewish ghetto near
Bendzin, Poland, was built in 1942. Almost immediately
afterward, deportations to the Auschwitz death camp began.
The Dombrowa ghetto was liquidated June 26, 1943, when the
few remaining residents were dispersed to the Srodula
ghetto, a stop on the way to Auschwitz.
of seldom seen Jewish ghetto mail: Before an April 7, 1942,
Opole postal cancel was struck on the 12-grozy stamp
indicium, the postal card received a postmark at the Opole
postal exchange office of the Jewish Council. The purple
handstamped "Z" (Zensur) on the 6-pfennig postal card
canceled June 29, 1943, is the characteristic censor marking
on mail that originated from the Dombrowa ghetto. The card
was sent from a German Jewish man ("Israel" in the sender's
name) to a German Jewish inmate ("Sara" in the addressee's
name) of a women's slave labor camp at Gellenau, Austria.
The sender may have been a privileged survivor; the card is
dated immediately after the ghetto was liquidated.