DESCRIPTION OF KOLNO
KOLNO, situated only a few miles from the old German
(Prussian) border, was greatly influenced by German culture. It was
a small, rural shtetl with no manufacturing. The general population
were primarily farmers or agricultural workers. The Jewish population
were primarily merchants, traders, and small-scale businessmen.
Because of its proximity to the border Kolno was also known for horse trading
and smuggling. Jews represented less than 10% of the population until
the late 1800s and grew to a little over 50% by the end of WWI.
The center of Kolno suffered a catastrophic fire in 1932
which destroyed most Jewish communal buildings along with most of the town
and town records.
Kolno was occupied by German troops during WWI, and Russian
troops during the early days of WWII. Within 2 months after Germany
declared war on Russia, Kolno was Judenrein.