Kolno pronounced [ˈkɔlnɔ] is a town in northeastern Poland, located in the Podlaskie Voivodeship, about 150 km northeast of Warsaw. It is the seat of Kolno County, and the seat of the smaller administrative district (gmina) called Gmina Kolno, but it is not part of this district, as the town has gmina status in its own right. Kolno has 10,730 inhabitants (2007).

Town centre


Coat of arms
Coordinates: 53°24′38″N 21°56′2″E
Country Poland
CountyKolno County
GminaKolno (urban gmina)
City rights1425
  MayorAndrzej Duda
  Total25.08 km2 (9.68 sq mi)
  Density430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+48 086
Car platesBKL


Kolno was first mentioned in 1222. The town first belonged to the Masovian Dukes, and then to the Polish crown. Kolno received city rights from Prince Janusz III of Masovia in 1425. The major economic expansion took place in the 16th century, with more trade and crafts. Kolno was destroyed by fire during the Kościuszko Uprising (1794). After the Partitions of Poland (1795) it became part of Prussia, till 1807, and subsequently, part of Duchy of Warsaw (Księstwo Warszawskie). From 1815 it belonged to Congress Poland (Królestwo Polskie). Kolno was destroyed again in the First World War, during battle between Russian and German empires. The population of Kolno during the interwar period increased to 5,163 persons, 70% of them Jewish.[1]

Jan of Kolno

Polish historian and cartographer Joachim Lelewel (1786–1861) was the first to gather all available mentions of Jan of Kolno known as Johannes Scolnus, and claimed that Scolvus was really Jan z Kolna (English: John of Kolno), a Polish navigator of the Danish fleet. He also found mentions of a Joannis de Colno who studied at the Kraków Academy in 1455, and a Colno or Cholno family of merchants and sailors living in Gdańsk.

World War II

Following the Nazi German and Soviet Invasion of Poland in World War II Kolno was taken over by the German forces on 8 September 1939. On 29 September Soviets enter the area in accordance with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The town remained in Soviet hands until Operation Barbarossa (22 June 1941) when it was overrun again by the Wehrmacht.

On 5 1941 Hermann Göring and Erich Koch visited the town, and some 30 to 37 Jews were murdered by the local Poles.[2][3] The rest of the Jewish population, some 2,350 to 3,000 Jews, were executed in several stages beginning on 15 July 1941.[3] Six weeks later, only 80 Jews remained in Kolno, mostly craftsmen and artisans whom the Germans employed.[2]

The Soviet Army liberated Kolno on the night of 23–24 January 1945 and ceded the city back to People's Republic of Poland in accordance with Yalta Conference.[1][4]


Notable persons

  • Maria Lani born in Kolno in 1895; in the late 1920s while in Paris portrayed in paintings and sculpture by over fifty notable artists.[5]
  • Albert Lewis was a Broadway and film producer who was born to a Jewish family in Kolno and emigrated to the US as a child.
  • Pessah Bar-Adon (born Pessah Panitsch) was an archaeologist, who was involved in many excavations in Israel.
  • Gertrude Blanch (born Gittel Kaimowitz) was an accomplished Mathematician, who emigrated to the US as a child.
  • Nehemiah Samuel Libowitz was a Jewish scholar.
  • Joseph Gabowicz was an acclaimed Sculptor.
  • Avraham Akavia was a soldier, author and personal aide to Orde Wingate.
  • Ze'ev Yavetz was a historian, author, teacher and one of the founders of the Mizrachi movement.
  • Isaac Remba was an author, columnist and personal aide to Ze'ev Jabotinsky
  • Chaim Brisman was a theatre actor, director and writer, sculptor and painter who was born in Kolno and emigrated to America in 1921.


  1. "Polin - dziedzictwo polskich Żydów. Kolno - info." Fundacja Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego accessed 18.06.2010. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Bender, Sara (2013). "Not Only in Jedwabne: Accounts of the Annihilation of the Jewish Shtetlach in North-eastern Poland in the Summer of 1941". Holocaust Studies. 19 (1): 1–38. doi:10.1080/17504902.2013.11087369.
  3. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945, Geoffrey P. Megargee, Martin C. Dean, and Mel Hecker, Volume II, part A, page 859.
  4. Wirtualny Sztetl. Kolno - historia. Muzeum Historii Żydów Polskich accessed 18.06.2010.
  5. Lackman, Jon (June–July 2014). "Maria Lani's Mystery". Art in America: 49–52.

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