Jedwabne Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Podlaskie Voivodeship
District
Łomża
Settlement
Jedwabne
Site address
3, Krasickiego Street. Heading north-east from Jedwabne on Cmentarna Street, turn right onto Krasickiego Street. The Jewish cemetery is located at the end of the street on the left hand side.
GPS coordinates
53.2895138, 22.3092198
Perimeter length
470 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
There is a stone wall along Krasickiego street (about 1.5m high) and a metal mesh fence on the western and northern sides of the cemetery (also 1.5m high). There is no fence on the eastern side, the cemetery border is marked with dense bushes.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The partially destroyed Jewish cemetery is situated on the north-eastern outskirts of Jedwable. It is located in a wooded area and is surrounded by agricultural fields. The whole cemetery area is covered with thick bushes. Only a few tombstones have survived.
Number of existing gravestones
42. The majority of the tombstones are located in the western and central parts of the cemetery.
Date of oldest tombstone
1835 (sztetl.org.pl), 1872 (by ESJF)
Date of newest tombstone
1937 (unknown source), 1889 (by ESJF)
Urgency of erecting a fence
Low
Land ownership
Other
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Jews lived in Jedwabne from the 17th century. In 1880, 1,410 Jews (75.9% of the total population) lived in the town, and by 1921 this number was reduced to 757 (61.9%). On July 10, 1941, a group of Poles, assisted by the Germans, carried out a pogrom. Several hundred Jews were burned in a barn, others were killed in the town and its vicinity.

The cemetery is located about 500 metres northeast of the city centre, at Krasickiego Street, and covers a plot of land shaped like an isosceles trapezoid, with an area of 1.29 hectares. The cemetery was likely established in the second half of the 18th century and was mentioned in the inspection records of the Catholic parish in 1781 (“There are a public Jewish school in Jedwabne and graves near the church in Borek, but they do not have any right or permission to establish such facilities”). The area of the cemetery was expanded in the 1860’s. At the beginning of the 20th century, the cemetery was fenced with a low fence. In June 1941, the cemetery was a defensive base for the German occupiers. On July 10, 1941, a pogrom against the Jews of Jedwabne took place in the barn next to the cemetery. In 1944, the Germans dug trenches in the cemetery to defend against the Red Army and a battle took place on January 23, 1945. The cemetery has been severely damaged and, apart from the damage suffered during the battle, the local population used tombstones as building material. In 2001, as part of a project to commemorate the victims of the pogrom, a stone wall was erected at the southern edge of the cemetery, and a monument with information about the cemetery was built at the entrance. Within the cemetery, there are several dozen tombstones in various conditions, made of fieldstone granite, the oldest of which dates to 1836. The area is overgrown with dense thickets, which makes it difficult to access the cemetery during the growing season. The boundaries are visible thanks to the remains of the original wall, the post-war mesh fence, and the wall built along the southern edge of the cemetery. The owner of the cemetery is the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage and it is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.

 

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