Tarnów Explained

Pushpin Map:Poland
Pushpin Label Position:bottom
Subdivision Type:Country
Subdivision Type1:Voivodeship
Subdivision Name1:Lesser Poland
Subdivision Type2:County
Subdivision Name2:city county
Leader Title:Mayor
Leader Name:Ryszard Ścigała
Established Title3:Town rights
Established Date3:1330
Area Total Km2:72.4
Population As Of:2006
Population Total:116109
Population Density Km2:auto
Utc Offset:+1
Timezone Dst:CEST
Utc Offset Dst:+2
Postal Code Type:Postal code
Postal Code:33-100 to 33-110
Area Code:+48 014
Blank Name:Car plates
Blank Info:KT

Tarnów (German: Tarnau; Yiddish: טארנא-''Turna'') is a city in southeastern Poland with 116,109 inhabitants (urban area 215 000 inhabitants) (2008)

The city has been situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999, but from 1975 to 1998 it was the capital of the Tarnów Voivodeship. It is a major rail junction, located on the strategic east-west connection from Lviv to Kraków. Also, from Tarnów two additional lines stem - a southwards main line to the Slovakian border via Stróże, as well as a minor northwards line to Szczucin (now defunct).


The first recorded mention of the city was in 1224. It gained city rights on March 7, 1330. In the 13th century, numerous German settlers immigrated from Kraków and Nowy Sącz. During the 16th century Scottish immigrants began to come in large numbers (Dun, Huyson and Nikielson). In 1528 dwelled here exiled King of Hungary János Szapolyai. [1] It was annexed by Habsburg Austria in 1772 during the First Partition of Poland. The Diocese of Tarnów was formed in 1785.

18 February 1846 - beginning of the Galician peasant revolt. The massacre, led by Jakub Szela (born in Smarżowa), is also known as the Galician Massacre, and began on 18 February 1846. This led to the "Galician Slaughter," in which many nobles and their families were murdered by peasants. Szela units surrounded and attacked manor houses and settlements located in three counties - Sanok, Jasło and Tarnów. The revolt got out of hand and the Austrians had to put it down.

During World War I, the city was one of the focal points of Austro-Hungarian/German Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive of 1915, a military operation that changed the situation in the Eastern Front and resulted in major retreat of opposing Russian forces. After the war, the city became part of a reconstituted Polish state on October 30, 1918.

The Jews of Tarnów

Before World War II, about 25,000 Jews lived in Tarnów. Jews, whose recorded presence in the town went back to the mid-fifteenth century, comprised about half of the town's total population. A large portion of Jewish business in Tarnów was devoted to garment and hat manufacturing. The Jewish community was ideologically diverse and included both religious Hasidim and secular Zionists.

Immediately following the German occupation of the city on September 8, 1939, the persecution of the Jews began. German units burned down most of the city's synagogues on September 9 and drafted Jews for forced-labor projects. Tarnów was incorporated into the Generalgouvernement. Many Tarnów Jews fled to the east, while a large influx of refugees from elsewhere in occupied Poland continued to increase the town's Jewish population. In early November, the Germans ordered the establishment of a Jewish council (Judenrat) to transmit orders and regulations to the Jewish community. Among the duties of the Jewish council were enforcement of special taxation on the community and providing workers for forced labor.

During 1941, life for the Jews of Tarnów became increasingly precarious. The Germans imposed a large collective fine on the community. Jews were required to hand in their valuables. Roundups for labor became more frequent and killings became more commonplace and arbitrary. Deportations from Tarnów began in June 1942, when about 13,500 Jews were sent to the Belzec extermination camp. During the deportation operations, German SS and police forces massacred hundreds of Jews in the streets, in the marketplace, in the Jewish cemetery, and in the woods outside the town.

After the June deportations, the Germans ordered the surviving Jews in Tarnów, along with thousands of Jews from neighboring towns, into a ghetto. The ghetto was surrounded by a high wooden fence. Living conditions in the ghetto were poor, marked by severe food shortages, a lack of sanitary facilities, and a forced-labor regimen in factories and workshops producing goods for the German war industry.

In September 1942, the Germans ordered all ghetto residents to report at Targowica Square, where they were subjected to a "Selektion" (selection) in which those deemed "unessential" were selected out for deportation to Belzec. About 8,000 people were deported. Thereafter, deportations from Tarnów to extermination camps continued sporadically; the Germans deported a group of 2,500 in November 1942.

In the midst of the 1942 deportations, some Jews in Tarnów organized a Jewish resistance movement. Many of the resistance leaders were young Zionists involved in the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement. Many of those who left the ghetto to join the partisans fighting in the forests later fell in battle with SS units. Other resisters sought to establish escape routes to Hungary, but with limited success.

The Germans decided to destroy the Tarnów ghetto in September 1943. The surviving 10,000 Jews were deported, 7,000 of them to Auschwitz and 3,000 to the Plaszow concentration camp in Kraków. In late 1943, Tarnów was declared "free of Jews" (Judenrein). By the end of the war, the overwhelming majority of Tarnów Jews had been murdered by the Germans. Although 700 Jews returned in 1945, some of them soon left the city and headed mostly to Israel.


Called 'Poland's warmest place' Tarnów has the highest annual mean temperature in the country at 8.6°C. The average temperature in January is -4.7°C and 19.3°C in July. [2], It is claimed, Tarnów has the longest summer in Poland spreading from mid May to mid September and it has the shortest winter in Poland.

Metric First:yes
Single Line:yes
Jan Hi °F:34
Jan Hi °C:2
Feb Hi °F:37
Feb Hi °C:5
Mar Hi °F:49
Mar Hi °C:11
Apr Hi °F:58
Apr Hi °C:12
May Hi °F:71
May Hi °C:18
Jun Hi °F:80
Jun Hi °C:24
Jul Hi °F:86
Jul Hi °C:30
Aug Hi °F:88
Aug Hi °C:31
Sep Hi °F:77
Sep Hi °C:28
Oct Hi °F:64
Oct Hi °C:15
Nov Hi °F:52
Nov Hi °C:10
Dec Hi °F:36
Dec Hi °C:5
Year Hi °F:56
Year Hi °C:12
Jan Lo °F:24
Jan Lo °C:-5
Feb Lo °F:24
Feb Lo °C:-5
Mar Lo °F:33
Mar Lo °C:-1
Apr Lo °F:40
Apr Lo °C:3
May Lo °F:51
May Lo °C:9
Jun Lo °F:55
Jun Lo °C:15
Jul Lo °F:58
Jul Lo °C:16
Aug Lo °F:57
Aug Lo °C:18
Sep Lo °F:47
Sep Lo °C:9
Oct Lo °F:45
Oct Lo °C:2
Nov Lo °F:33
Nov Lo °C:0
Dec Lo °F:27
Dec Lo °C:-3
Year Lo °F:41
Year Lo °C:4
Jan Precip Inch:1.1
Jan Precip Cm:2.8
Feb Precip Inch:1
Feb Precip Cm:2.6
Mar Precip Inch:1.1
Mar Precip Cm:3
Apr Precip Inch:1.3
Apr Precip Cm:3.8
May Precip Inch:2
May Precip Cm:5
Jun Precip Inch:2.3
Jun Precip Cm:6.6
Jul Precip Inch:2.7
Jul Precip Cm:7.6
Aug Precip Inch:2.5
Aug Precip Cm:7.1
Sep Precip Inch:1.8
Sep Precip Cm:4.6
Oct Precip Inch:1.6
Oct Precip Cm:4
Nov Precip Inch:1.5
Nov Precip Cm:3.8
Dec Precip Inch:1.4
Dec Precip Cm:3.6
Year Precip Inch:20.6
Year Precip Cm:54.9




According to official Church statistics, Tarnów is the most religious city in Poland, with 89.6% of the faithful of the Diocese of Tarnów attending Mass weekly [4] .


Tarnów constituency

Members of Parliament (Sejm) elected from Tarnów constituency:

Member of the European Parliament

Notable residents

Twin Towns - Sister Cities

Tarnów is twinned with:

See also

External links


  1. Zdzisław Spieralski, Jan Tarnowski 1488-1561, Warszawa 1977, p. 124-125.
  2. http://www.worldclimate.com/cgi-bin/data.pl?ref=N50E020+1202+0005992G2 TARNW, Weather History and Climate Data
  3. Web site: Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Tarnów, Poland. mdy. July 30 2008. English.
  4. http://goscniedzielny.wiara.pl/index.php?grupa=6&art=1184589442&dzi=1104785534&katg= Tygodnik Katolicki - Gość Niedzielny - Wydanie Internetowe
  5. Web site: Nowy Sącz - Partner Cities. © 2008 Urząd Miasta Nowego Sącza, Rynek 1, 33-300 Nowy Sącz, e-mail: [mailto:urzad@nowysacz.pl {{fontcolor|DarkGreen|urzad@nowysacz.pl}}]. 2008-12-07.

This article incorporates text from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has been released under the GFDL.