Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the thoughtful citizen of Radziejow that has begun the process of healing by returning the Jewish tombstones to the proper authorities. I asked that all others who know the location of tombstones and other Jewish items do the same.
To begin. Here is the background concerning the Jewish cemetery.CEMETERY: Normal 0 Establishment of the Jewish cemetery in Radziejow probably was in the early 19th century. Located in the southern part of the city at the end of the current street Ogrodowej and Sosnowej. During WWII, the Germans ordered destruction of the cemetery. On Sunday, April 22, 1942, a few days after the deportation of remaining Jews from Radziejów, the Gestapo Beck arrived at the estate called Gory and told the workers to destroy the Jewish gravestones in the cemetery. Even today, fragments of gravestones are in the steps of houses in the village. Thieves and vandals and the local authorities destroyed whatever remained of the gravestones after the war. The district council in 1956 marked the part of the slope on which the cemetery was located for excavating gravel. This continued for several years leaving a huge excavation site. Finding this site is very difficult. A few dozen meters from the road, a path leads through pine forest and the vegetation choked edge of a ten-meter high slope. Human bones may be visible. Photos. [June 2009] Last Updated on Monday, 29 June 2009 20:04Today’s developments:
Yes, after all these years the monuments from the Radziejow cemetery have turned up. The library in Radziejow in March held a special presentation for the local pupils concerning this important part of the town’s history.
Of course, I am very excited. I am hoping that the tombstones of my Grandparents, Shimon and Helena and my Great Grandparents, Baer and Miriam, will be found. I have photos of these tombstones (except for Shimon who died during the Getto occupation) posted in various places on this blog of the cemetery along with the actual cemetery.
I had hoped to one day reestablish the cemetery with my share of the funds upon the recovery and sale of our building in Radziejow. It now seems possible that the actual graves can be found and the monuments returned. I know there are many obstacles. The articles below, that is available at Virtual Shtetl, describes what happened to the cemetery during and after the war.
March 10, 2012 – “An educational meeting on Radziejów Jews The recent discovery of matzevot from the Jewish cemetery in Radziejów resulted in a meeting addressed to school pupils in Radzejów. During the meeting, which was held at F. Beciński Public Library on March 8th, librarians, through a lecture and a movie, tried to make the youth aware of the importance of Jews for the town’s identity. The lecture on Radziejów Jews was accompanied by a movie presentation of the film ‘Po-lin. Slivers of Memory’, which is an extremely moving documentary that portrays a Jewish community in Poland before the outbreak of World War II, the world which, in the wake of wartime tumultuous events, was suddenly wiped away and destroyed. Prewar Poland was home to ca 3.5 million Jews, who comprised almost 10 percent of the entire population at that time. It was here where they gave birth, shared love, worked and died. At the beginning of January 2012, one of Radziejów residents notified us about matzevot located in a private property. For many years, the tombstones paved the floor in a private workshop. The current owner of the workshop agreed to give the monuments back. The matzevot were finally shown in an exhibition in the Regional Chamber, operating at the Beciński County and Municipal Public Library in Radziejów. It is noteworthy these tombsontes are the only matzevot from the local Jewish cemetery that have been discovered thus far.”
“Matzevot from the Jewish cemetery in Radziejów have been discovered At the beginning of January 2012, one of Radziejów residents notified us about matzevot located in a private property. For many years, the tombstones paved the floor in a private workshop. The current owner of the workshop is eager to give the monuments back. It was impossible to transfer the matzevot to the Jewish cemetery in Radziejów. The necropolis was destroyed during World War II and was further defaced after the liberation in 1945. In 1956, the local authorities earmarked the cemetery land for a gravel pit, where tons of sand was being dug up over the course of several dozen years. Afterwards, an open door motor driver training center was built in the cemetery. The Virtual Shtetl team reported the case to the Cemetery Rabbinical Commission and the Jewish Religious Community. Meanwhile, in co-operation with local correspodents, the Virtual Shtetl team started to seek a proper place for these matzevot. The Historical Chamber in nearby Aleksandrów Kujawski has declared the intention to secure the tombtones. The matzevot were finally shown in an exhibition in the Regional Chamber, operating at the Beciński County and Municipal Public Library in Radziejów. It is noteworthy these tombsontes are the only matzevot from the local Jewish cemetery that have been discovered thus far. There is no doubt about the fact that a great number of others can still be found in various parts of the town. We call on everyone to give them back. The Virtual Shtetl is grateful to everyone who has engaged in our activities. Our special thanks go to Krzysztof Wątrobowicz, Tomasz Świerczyński and Zbigniew Sołtysiński.”