Zelechow New Jewish Cemetery
The new Jewish cemetery in Żelechów is located approximately 470 metres southwest of the town square, on a rise between Reymonta, Brzóski, Bema, and Chłopickiego Streets. It occupies a plot with an acreage of 2.1315 hectares (ha). The cemetery was founded around 1802. In the following decades it was expanded. There was a funeral house beside the entrance gate. During World War II, people who died or were killed in the ghetto were buried in the cemetery. The Germans also used the site carried for carrying out executions. In 1942 it was the site of a so-called black wedding which, according to Jewish folklore, was meant to stop the spread of typhoid fever in the ghetto. The cemetery was devasted during the war. Presumably, some of the last people to be buried at the cemetery were Salomon Epner and Perla Fajgezucht, killed in Żelechów in the spring of 1945. Bodies of people killed during the war and initially buried elsewhere were exhumed and reburied in the cemetery.
In the following decades the cemetery fell into further disrepair. In 1960-1964 a plot of 1.23 ha was fenced. In 1964 the Minister for Local Economy signed a by-law commencing the closure of the cemetery so the area could be used for other purposes. In 1980 the local government planned to use part of the cemetery for residential buildings. There was a gas pumping station in the northern corner of the cemetery. In 2014, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage along with Rabbi Chaim Hopstein and Moses Hirschler, erected a new fence and installed an information plaque. There are approximately 150 tombstones in the cemetery including the 2015 matzevot of the tzadiks Aharon ha-Kohen and Arie Hofstein. There are plans to build an ohel. There is no information about the cemetery’s ownership status. The cemetery is listed in the voivodeship register of immovable monuments.
The first records of Jews in Żelechów date back to the 16th century. In around 1765, the local Rabbi was Lewi Ischak, later the Rabbi of Berdyczów. In 1840 the rabbi of the community was tzadik Jehoszua Aszer Rabinowicz. In the mid-19th century Icchak Szlomo Goldberg established a Hasidic dynasty in the town. In 1921 there were 4,016 Jewish residents in Żelechów, most of whom were killed by Germans in Treblinka in 1942. In 1944, 132 surviving Jews returned to Żelechów though they later left the city. Two of those survivors who returned to the city were killed in 1945.