Suwalki Jewish Cemetery
Jews first settled in Suwałki in 1802. In 1890, 12,540 Jews (60.9% of the total population) lived in the city, and 5,747 in 1921 (34%). At the start of World War II, some Jews from Suwałki managed to escape to territory occupied by the USSR. The rest were deported at the end of 1939 to Biała Podlaska and Kock and killed in the following years. After 1945, several Jewish families lived in Suwałki. The cemetery is located about 500 metres southwest of the market square, at Zarzecze Street, and covers a plot shaped like a rectangle, with an area of approximately 3.82 hectares. There are Muslim, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, and Old Believers’ cemeteries in the vicinity. The cemetery was established around 1820. At the beginning of the 20th century there was a funeral house at the entrance. There were tombstones of various forms at the cemetery, including stelae, obelisks, and ohels. The cemetery began to decay during World War II. Some tombstones were used by the Germans to build a swimming pool and to pave the streets. In the 1950’s, the area was used as a horse market and for cattle grazing. Despite the degradation, there were still burials at the cemetery as of 2010 and 2012. In the 1980’s, at the initiative of Rabbi Dawid Lifszyc, the cemetery was fenced and cleaned up. Lapidaries were arranged using the preserved and recovered tombstones. A monument commemorating the rabbis from Suwałki was also funded. Within the cemetery, there are about 300 tombstones, including about 220 with legible inscriptions (the list is available at http://cmentarskie-zydowskie.pl/suwalki.htm), in various states of preservation. There are mostly destroyed ones gathered in lapidaries. The cemetery is fenced, and the side entrance is always open. It is covered with grass and, in the central and eastern parts, there are rare pine trees. The owner of the cemetery is the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage. The facility is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.