Hrubieszow Old Jewish Cemetery
Hrubieszów (formerly Rubieszow) used to be a stronghold in Ruthenia. In 1366, it was incorporated into the borders of Poland and, in 1400, it was granted rights under Magdeburg Law as a royal town. The oldest recorded mention of individual Jews living in Hrubieszów dates to 1440. In 1564, 40 Jews lived in 5 households. In 1578, Jews were granted the privilege to establish a kehilla (organized Jewish community) and to build community facilities, which were built just west of the front of the market square. In 1879, Jews constituted 4,984 of the town’s 8,208 inhabitants (61% of the population), and, in 1931, constituted approximately 7,000 (52%) of 13,359 inhabitants (52%). During World War II, the Germans vandalized the Jewish community buildings and, in 1942, the Jews in the Hrubieszów Ghetto were deported to Sobibór. After the war, over one hundred Jews lived in Hrubieszów for a short time.
The cemetery was established either after 1578 or earlier and located approximately 300 metres north-east of the market square. Its history and its historical appearance are unknown. The burial area was gradually expanded. In the interwar period, the cemetery was rectangular-shaped and covered an area of 3.1 hectares (ha). It was enclosed with a wooden fence and covered with trees. There was a funeral home and an ohel in the cemetery. During World War II, the cemetery was seriously damaged, and the tombstones were used for construction purposes. In 1942–1943, the Germans shot about 500 Jews in the cemetery and buried them in mass graves. At the end of the war, the Germans used the southern part of the area as a road. After the war, in 1945–1946, a group of Jews exhumed the bodies of victims buried in the town and its vicinity and reburied them in the cemetery. They also gathered some tombstones and moved them to the cemetery which they then fenced. They erected a concrete monument dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust in the cemetery. The cemetery later was neglected and, in the 1970’s, warehouse buildings were built in the southern part of the cemetery (0.23 ha). Since 1990, the cemetery has been regularly cleaned up and it was enclosed with a metal fence. Another monument honoring the victims of the Holocaust and a lapidarium monument made of recovered matzevot (76 made of limestone and of sandstone, the oldest of which is from 1815) were erected. Further recovered tombstones were placed in the lapidarium. The cemetery is overgrown with grass and a few trees.