Lelow Old Jewish Cemetery
The old Jewish cemetery in Lelów is located at 7 Ogrodowa Street, in the village centre. The cemetery’s exact establishment is unknown, though it was established by the 17th century. Until World War II, there was a wooden ohel for Dawid Biderman, who died in 1814. During World War II, the cemetery was destroyed by the Germans. Most of the tombstones were taken away and most likely used as construction material. The cemetery fell into further disrepair in the post-war years and the remaining matzevot were stolen by the local population. In the period of the Polish People’s Republic, a trading pavilion was built in the cemetery. The grave of Lelów tzadik Rebbe Dawid Biderman, is in the cemetery, who was the son of Rabbi Szlomo Cwi Biderman, student of Elimelech from Leżajsk, the Seer of Lublin, and Magid of Kozienice—the founder of the Lelów Hasidic dynasty—who died on January 28, 1814. In 1988, at the initiative of Abraham Biderman with the support of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation, a search for the burial place of Rebbe David Biderman was carried out. As a result, it was proved that the remains of the tzadik were buried under the trading pavilion. At that time, one of the rooms at the back of the shopping pavilion was separated and a symbolic ohel was built.
In 2008–2009, the legal status of the cemetery plot was regulated, and it finally became the property of the Leżajsk-Poland Hasid Foundation. After the demolition of part of the trading pavilion, a makeshift ohel was erected. In the summer of 2011, thanks to the support of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation, the cemetery was marked by a surveyor and fenced. In September 2012, the construction of a new ohel began and was completed in 2013-2014. Since its discovery, Rebbe Biderman’s grave has become a pilgrimage location for Hasidim from all over the world. Parts of matzevot found in Lelów and the surrounding towns have been placed back in the cemetery.
The village of Lelów, formerly a town, was granted town rights in 1354. Its foundation status was downgraded in 1869. The first records of Jewish settlement in Lelów date to the 16th century. In 1564, there were six Jewish families in the town, and over a dozen by 1598. In 1787, 231 Jews lived in Lelów. In the second half of the 18th century, Tzadik Dawid Biedermann (1746–1814), a student of Elimelech from Leżajsk, settled in Lelów and formed a large Hasidic community. The Jewish population grew over the following years: in 1808, 269 Jews lived in the town (constituting 29% of the total population), 339 in 1827 (39%), 480 in 1857 (53%), and 720 in 1897 Jews (60%). During World War II, in September 1942, the Jews of Lelów (about 700 people) were deported to the Treblinka. The descendants of Tzadik Biedermann now live in Israel.