Sokolka Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Sokółka is located about 400 metres west of the market square, on a hill at Icchoka Malmeda i Ludwika Zamenhofa Street, and covers an L-shaped plot with an area of approximately 2.4 hectares. The cemetery was established based on a privilege issued by King Augustus II the Strong in 1698, in which the Jews of Sokołów received permission to establish “a mound to bury the dead.” There is no detailed information about the history of the cemetery and its appearance before 1939. According to the list of Jewish cemeteries prepared by the Office for Religious Affairs in 1981, the last burial took place in 1945. Presumably, during World War II, the cemetery fell into disrepair. A part of the area was used to build a street. In 1949, the Central Committee of Jews in Poland applied to the Municipal Board in Sokółka to take care of the cemetery in exchange for taking over the former synagogue.
Within the cemetery, there are several hundred tombstones (1,067 matzevot were found during the inventory carried out by Tomasz Wiśniewski and Andrzej Grajter in 1987) in different stats of preservation. They are mostly made of granite erratic boulders. There is a clear division between the old and new parts of the cemetery. The cemetery is partially fenced with fragments of the original stone wall, topped with a concrete spout, and a contemporary fence made of wire mesh. Much of the area is covered with forest. On the side bordering Malmeda Street, there is an information board which was placed there in 2007. For over a dozen years, the cemetery has been periodically cleaned up by students and volunteers of Ewa Krychniak. The owner of the cemetery is the State Treasury. The cemetery is listed in the Municipal and Provincial Register of Monuments and the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Podlaskie Province.
Jews began to settle in Sokółka in the 17th century. In 1921, 2,821 Jews lived in the town (46.3% of the population), most of whom were murdered by the Germans between 1942 and 1943.