Miedzyrzec Podlaski New Jewish Cemetery
The new cemetery was established in 1810. It was located outside the town, around 1 km north-east of the market square by the side of the road leading to Brest. Its original area was 0.55 ha. In the 19th century, the area was expanded to at least three times the size. It is known that in 1860 the area was 1.3 ha. Eventually, the cemetery obtained an area of 2.8 ha, and it had a more rectangular shape. In the interwar period, the cemetery was surrounded by a brick wall. Two gateways were facing Brzeska street. There was a brick funeral home located next to one of them (it survived, and after the war, it was refurbished into an apartment building). The cemetery was covered with old trees (some of them still grow there). There were residential properties in the area between Brzeska street and the wall with two gateways. On the other three sides, the cemetery was surrounded by arable fields.
During World War II, the Holocaust victims were buried in mass graves in the cemetery. The German soldiers took tombstones made of valuable stone to the Reich. Sandstone and rock matzevot were used for building purposes. Several dozen matzevot survived the war in the original location. Just after the war, more than 1,200 Jews were temporarily residing in Międzyrzec, including over 70 former residents. In 1946, thanks to the financial support of Abram and Sara Finkelsztejn from New York, the cemetery wall was repaired. Several hundred tombstones (recovered from the town and the surroundings) were built into it. Several dozen new concrete tombstones were made to commemorate individuals or groups of people. Corpses from the mass graves were exhumed outside the cemetery. They were buried in the so-called “brotherly grave” in the cemetery, and they were commemorated with a monument.
The cemetery was open until at least 1973, when the final burial took place. In 1995, Jews from New York funded a second monument commemorating the victims of the Holocaust at the cemetery. There are paved paths leading to both monuments.
Currently, one can enter the cemetery from Brzeska Street, passing the former funeral home. There are over 1,000 tombstones in the cemetery, including over 100 still standing. The rest of them are embedded in the cemetery wall and piled together. The majority of the tombstones are either traditional stelas or stelas accompanied with a slab covering the grave. The post-war tombstones are laid out horizontally. The oldest preserved tombstones are made of granite, rock, and crystal sandstone. Starting from the second half of the 19th century, the tombstones were mostly made of fine sandstone. Parts of tombstones made of deep-sea rocks and marble have survived, as have 11 cast-iron tombstones (made of materials from the local ironwork) dating from 1833-1943. Post-war tombstones are made of concrete and terrazzo.