Tarnów, a center of Galician Jewry prior to the Second World War, was home to around 25,000 Jews at the beginning of WWII, the vast majority of whom were deported to Bełżec, Auschwitz, or Płaszów. The first deportations to the concentration camp at Auschwitz included Poles and Jews from Tarnów in June 1940.

In addition to several memorials to the Jews victims of the Nazis, Tarnów is home to the Ethnographic Museum, which celebrates Roma culture.