Kolno Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Podlaskie Voivodeship
District
Kolno
Settlement
Kolno
Site address
Cemetery doesn’t have an address. Heading west via Marii Dąbrowskiej Street, stop on the northern side of the road 200 metres past the intersection with Dębowa and Aleksandrowska streets.
GPS coordinates
53.4060015, 21.9169521
Perimeter length
572 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery has a concrete wall about 1.7-1.8m high with a metal and stone gate on the eastern side. A section of the concrete wall next to the entrance gate, about 12-13m long, has collapsed. A portion of the stone entrance arch has also collapsed. Cemetery wall is damaged (the paint is cracked and peeling) in a number of places.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
It is a fenced and protected Jewish cemetery located in the western outskirts of Kolno. The cemetery is situated in a rural area, surrounded by farming fields. The southern side of the cemetery is adjacent to Marii Dąbrowskiej Street. The territory is clean and well kept, most of cemetery is fenced. Some areas are overgrown with thick bushes and were difficult to access. Many tombstones have been preserved.Two freshly dug holes were found in the cemetery, these were documented in the photos from the survey team.
Number of existing gravestones
About 300 tombstones or their fragments have been preserved in the cemetery. Inscriptions on the tombstones are barely visible due to wind erosion.
Date of oldest tombstone
1828
Date of newest tombstone
1936
Urgency of erecting a fence
Low
Land ownership
Other
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Jewish settlement in Kolno began to develop at the end of the 18th century. 784 Jews lived in the town in 1827, 2,084 in 1857, and 2,216 in 1921 (49% of the total population). After the town was conquered by the German army in the summer of 1941, a pogrom took place in Kolno, in which some Poles also took part. In July or August 1941, the Germans forced the Jews to leave the town and then shot them in the forest near the village of Mściwuje.

The cemetery is located about 1.1 km southwest of the market square, on a hill on the northern side of M. Dąbrowskiej Street, surrounded by arable fields, and covers the irregular rectangular geodetic plot no. 1711, with an area of 1.7247 hectares. The cemetery was established following a decision issued by the authorities on September 18, 1817. The Jewish community had to pay the annual rent. Earlier, the Jews of Kolno were buried in Śniadowo and Łomża. In the summer of 1941, the cemetery was the place of anti-Semitic incidents that took place in Kolno after the German offensive against the Soviet Union. Jews were forced to bury a statue of Lenin in the cemetery. The cemetery was also used for carrying out executions. The destruction of the cemetery began during World War II—because of the military operations of the Wehrmacht and the theft of tombstones by the locals—and continued through the following decades. The cemetery was used as a pasture.

In 2005, at the initiative of Rabbi Shlomo Besser, the family of Emanuel Toporowitz from Kolno, and the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, the cemetery was cleaned up, the fence was repaired, and a gate was built. Within the cemetery, there are about 300 tombstones, most of which are made of granite fieldstones. The cemetery is enclosed with a wall and the area is covered with grass and shrubs. In recent years, a part of the fence, the gate, and the information board placed on it have been destroyed. The owner of the cemetery is the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage. The facility is listed in the Municipal and Provincial Register of Monuments and the Register of Immovable Monuments.

 

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