Lask New Jewish Cemetery
The New Jewish Cemetery in Łask is located on the border of the town and the village of Podłaszcze, about 2 km away from the town centre, on the right side of Voivodeship Road No. 481 towards Widawa. There is a small information plaque about the cemetery on the tree at the entrance to the forest. The cemetery’s exact establishment date is unknown, though it was most likely established in the 19th century, and certainly existed by 1840, which is the date marked on the oldest preserved tombstone. A plate which displays the cemetery’s establishment date states the cemetery was founded in 1835. The most recent matzevah dates to 1942. During World War II, the cemetery was significantly damaged. Today, there are about 100 matzevot in various conditions (including seven sarcophagi) in the cemetery. Most of them are overturned, and some have been moved from the grave they initially marked. Inscriptions in Hebrew and Polish have survived on some of them. The cemetery is divided into women’s and men’s quarters, which is still visible.
Łask was first recorded as a village in 1356 and was granted town rights in 1422. Jews first settled in Łask as early as the 16th century, though the Jewish community only developed in the 17th century, following numerous privileges which were issued to the community by the owner of the town. The Jewish population continued to increase throughout the 18th century. By 1793, there were 1,327 Jews in the town, constituting 77% of the population. In 1921, Łask had 4,890 inhabitants, including 2,116 Jews, most of whom were Hasidim. In 1940, there were 3,366 Jews in Łask. In the same year, the Germans established a Judenrat in the town, headed by Zelman Kochman. On November 18, 1940, they established the ghetto, which was liquidated beginning on August 23, 1942, at the command of Hans Biebow. The Germans murdered about 70 people in the town around this time. 900 Jews were transported to the Łódź Ghetto, and another 3,000 to the extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem.