Aleksandrow Lodzki Jewish Cemetery
Aleksandrów Łódzki was granted town rights in 1822. The first records of Jewish settlement in the town are from 1818. In 1897, 1,673 Jews lived in the town, which constituted 28% of the total population. Around 1822, synagogue supervision was established in the town, and the first synagogue was built in the same year. In 1866, the tzadik from Góra Kalwaria, Chanoch Henich ha Kohen Lewin, settled in Aleksandrów, and from that moment the town became an important Hasidic center. In the 1870s, Jechiel Danzigier, the founder and first rebbe of the Aleksander dynasty, came to the town. In 1935, a brick mansion of the tzaddik from Aleksandrów was built at 10 Warszawska Street. Before the war, the Aleksander Hasidim was the second-largest Hasidic movement in Poland.
During World War II, on December 27, 1939, all Jews from the town (about 4,000) were displaced to the General Government, and from there to the Nazi extermination camps.
The Jewish cemetery in Aleksandrów Łódzki is located on Górna Street, in the northwestern part of the town. The necropolis was probably established around 1822. In 1870, Chanoch Henich was buried there, and from 1894, tzadikim from the Aleksandrów dynasty were buried in the cemetery. The tzadikim graves became the destination of Hasidic pilgrimages. Before 1939, there was a building in the cemetery that served as a gatehouse or a funeral house. After the outbreak of World War II, on September 14, 1939, the Germans shot 26 Jews and 5 Poles at the cemetery. During the war, the cemetery was devastated, and by order of the Germans, some matzevot were used as road building material. The process of destruction also continued in the post-war period.
Currently, the cemetery covers an L-shaped plot of land with an area of approximately 0.8 hectares. It is surrounded by a contemporary fence with a high gate. To the right of the entrance, there is a modern, small, concrete, and fully built-up tomb with a plaque in which Chanoch Henich ha Kohen Lewin (died 1870) is buried. He was a rabbi in Aleksandrów Łódzki and Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki, and a student of Symche Bunam from Przysucha, Menachem Mendel from Kock, and Icchak Meir Alter from Góra Kalwaria. From 1866, he was a tzadik of the Góra Kalwaria dynasty. The tomb was renovated several times. In front of the ohel stands the renewed matzevah of his daughter Chaja Cipora. Next to the fence on the north side there is a grave of people murdered by the Germans in September 1939 with a plaque in Polish: “In honor of the memory of those murdered by Nazi fascists on September 14, 1939.” In the central part of the cemetery, there is a concrete, fully built-up ohel (5 x 8 m, about 1.8 m high) with 4 matzevot with Hebrew epitaphs embedded in it on the west side. In the tomb, Jechiel Dancygier (died 1894), Jerachmiel Israel Icchak Dancygier (died 1910), Szmuel Cwi Dancygier (died 1923), Becalel Jair Dancygier (died 1924) are buried. The concrete tomb was built after the war. Earlier, there were matzevot surrounded by a wall. The tomb was renovated several times. Rabbi Jakow Aaron Janowski (died 1869), a son of Reb Mojsze from Działoszyn, is also buried at the cemetery, but the location of his grave is unknown.
The tzadik’s graves are periodically visited by pilgrims who are mainly members of the Aleksander Hasidic community. In 2010, about 400 people from all over the world came to Aleksandrów during the hundredth Jahzreit of Jerachmiel Izrael Icchak Dancygier.
According to estimated data, there are about 150 tombstones within the cemetery in various conditions. Only a few matzevot remain at the actual burial site. At the back of the Dancygier ohel, there are several dozen matzevot excavated with the participation of the town authorities from Aleksandrów streets. During the work on the cemetery, numerous matzevot were discovered underground. At the initiative of the present Aleksander Rebbe from Bene Berak, regular cleaning operations are carried out at the cemetery.