KOLO (Pol. Koło; Yid. Koil), town in Poznan district, central Poland, near the River Varta; passed to Prussia in 1793, and restored to Poland in 1919. Jews were living there in the 15th century, and in 1564 they received the right of residence from King Sigismund II Augustus. In 1611 there were 24 Jewish-owned houses in Kolo. A synagogue was built in 1763–65. During the 19th century, Jews played an important role in the economic development of the town. They owned factories for colored cloths, bricks, porcelain ware, agricultural machinery, and oil, as well as various workshops. In 1897, 52% of the Jews of the town were engaged in commerce. The community numbered 1,184 (37.2% of the total population) in 1827; 4,013 (42.8%) in 1897; 5,154 (45%) in 1921; approximately 6,000 (44%) in 1931; and 5,000 (41.6%) in 1939. Between the two world wars, the Jews continued active in economic life, and, in 1938 37.7% of the workshops in the town were Jewish-owned. Antisemitism in the economic sphere during the 1930s forced them out of several occupations. There were eight Jews among the 24 members elected to the municipal council in 1924 and ten in 1929. The Jewish community administration elected in 1931 consisted of three members for the General Zionists, five for Poalei Zion-Right, four for Poalei Zion-Left, and one for Agudat Israel. Its last chairman was Joseph Schwarz, and the last rabbi of Kolo was Hayyim David Zilber Margalioth (d. 1941), who officiated there for about 50 years.
[Shimshon Leib Kirshenboim]
The town was occupied by the Germans on Sept. 15, 1939 (the second day of Rosh Ha-Shanah). On the following day a German raid was made on Jewish homes, and all the men were forced to assemble in the market place. The men were sent to do repair work on the Warta River bridges which had been blown up by the Polish army when hostilities began. The Germans set fire to the synagogue, accused the Jews of arson, and extorted a large sum of money from them. The Jewish intelligentsia was arrested and anyone caught hiding executed. Two hostages were taken every day. In December 1939, 1,139 Jews were forced out of their homes and kept starving and freezing for weeks in barracks. They were eventually deported to the *Lublin district. Their homes were then turned over to Volksdeutsche brought there from the Baltic regions. Almost a year later 150 Jewish families were expelled from Kolo, and a ghetto was established for the remainder of the Jewish population. Contacts and trade with the non-Jewish side continued, and helped to alleviate the ghetto conditions. Its inhabitants were decimated by a typhoid epidemic and the conscription of able-bodied persons for slave labor. In June 1941 all the Jewish males were deported to the labor camp near *Poznan. In August about 100 girls were sent to a labor camp in Breslau. The final liquidation of the Kolo ghetto took place early in December 1941 when the remaining 2,300 Jews were assembled in front of the Judenrat building, placed on trucks, and sent to the death camp at *Chelmno.
Sefer Kolo (1958; Heb. and Yid.); Trunk in: Bleter far Geshikhte 2:1–4 (1949), 64–166 (passim); W. Bednarz, Obóz straceń Chełmna nad Nerem (1946); Dabrowska in: BZIH, no. 13–14 (1955).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.