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Coat of arms of Biała Podlaska Alternate names: Biała Podlaska [Pol], Podlyashe [Yid], Biala Gadol [Heb], Biala, Biala D'Lita, Russian: Бяла-Подляска. פּאדליאשע-Yiddish. ביאלה-פודלאסקה-Hebrew. 52°02' N, 23°08' E, 24 miles W of Brest-Litovsk, 36 miles ESE of Siedlce. 1900 Jewish population: 6,874. Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), I, pp. 168-170: "Biała" #1. 2005 population: 58,047. Yizkors: Podlyashe in natsi-klem; notitsn fun shurbn (Buenos Aires, 1953); Sefer Biala Podlaska (Tel Aviv, 1961); Podlasie in Umkum (Munich, 1948); and Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland vol. 7: Kielce and Lublin (Jerusalem, 1999). In 1621, thirty Jewish families received rights of residence and began the Jewish community. Jewish population: 2,200 Jews out of 3,588 in 1841; 6,549 out of 13,090 in 1897; 6,874 out of 13,000 in 1921, and 6,934 (64.7%) in 1931. In the 19th century, the Chasidic movement established roots in Biała Podlaska, but others were influenced by the Haskalah. The first mention of the Jewish community in Biała Podlaska is 1621. For many years, the Jews were the majority of the city's inhabitants - in 1841 about 2,200 or 61%. In the interwar period, four newspapers published in Yiddish in Biała Podlaska. [March 2009]

MASS GRAVES: The Germans captured Biała Podlaska on September 13, 1939 and withdrew on September 26, when the Soviets occupied the town. On October 10 , 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact gave the town to the Germans. 600 Jews left with the Soviets departure. A Judenrat  formed in November 1939 provided a public kitchen, supervised the Jewish hospital and provided for communal needs. Forced to a yellow Star of David (later, blue), Jews were ordered into a ghetto on Grabanow, Janowa, Prosta and Przechodnia Streets. A Jewish Police (Ordnungsdienst) was established. At the end of 1939, 2,000-3,000 Jews shipped from Suwałki and Serock to Biala-Podlaska increased the overcrowding until a typhus epidemic in early 1940. Less than 200 survivors of a death march of Jewish POWs to a POW camp in the town, initially some 880 men, arrived. In July 1940, some Jewish men were sent from Biała Podlaska to the forced labor camps at Belzec. In autumn 1940, hundreds of Jewish tradesmen became workers in the factories built by the Germans in Biała Podlaska and its environs. Seven work camps built by the Germans nearby the factories include that at the airfield, train station, and Wineta camp in the Wola district. Hundreds of other worked in heavy manual labor like paving roads, draining ditches, and constructing sewage facilities, saw mills, and barracks. Many women worked on Duke Potocki's farm called "Halas". On May 15, 1941, the Jewish POW camp was closed and the surviving prisoners transported by sealed train to Konskowola, further west. During 1940 and 1941, several hundred Jews from Kraków and Mlawa were deported to Biała Podlaska swelling the Jewish population to approximately 8,400 by arch 1942. At the end of June 1941 a number of Jews were sent to Auschwitz as punishment for giving bread to Soviet prisoners of war marched through the town and were among the first Jewish victims to perish in Auschwitz. On June 6, 1942, the Jews learned that only workers at the forced labor camps or those employed at German factories as well as those possessing a labor permit were exempt from the deportation that occurred. On June 10 at 5 a.m., 3,000 Jews (elderly, women, and children) were assembled in the synagogue courtyard. Some fled to the forests. German police led the assembled Jews to the train station and the next day, they were herded into freight cars and deported to the death camp at Sobibor. Except for 200 Jews, who were selected for "special treatment", all others were gassed immediately. The 200 removed luggage from Camp ll and loaded it onto a train while being whipped and clubbed by the guards. Then they were gassed. Following the first deportation, the Germans reduced the ghetto on the night of August 4 when German police and Poles cordoned off the ghetto, took men out of their homes to the market square for permit examination. The men were freed, but that same night, nineteen Jews were murdered. About 400 Jews including members of the Judenrat were deported to KL Majdanek while fifty Jews remained in the ghetto. 350 men were transferred to work on the railroad at Golab between Lublin and Pulawy. In September 1942, 3,000 deportees from the towns of Janow and Konstantynow arrived in Biała Podlaska. Many attempted to escape to forest bunkers or hid in basements. The second deportation from September 26 to 1 October began with Gestapo and German and Polish police and soldiers from the nearby airport encircled the ghetto the night before the Aktion. In the morning, the Jews were driven to the New Market Square (Rynek). Resistors were shot on the spot. The Gestapo shot fifteen patients and two nurses at the Jewish Hospital. Some Jews were sent as slave laborers to the airport at Malaszewicze near Terespol. Most left in the market square were driven to Miedzyrzec Podlaski in peasants' wagons with many murdered in Woronica Forest. On October 6, the Germans deported about 1,200 workers to Międzyrzec Podlaski ghetto and subsequently to the Treblinka  in July 1943 leaving 300 Jewish workersto clear the ghetto and destroy the synagogue and the small prayer houses. In May 1944, the survivors were transferred to KL Majdanek. Liberated by the Red Army on July 26, 1944, only 300 of the original Jews survived. In 1946 members of the anti-communist underground murdered two young Jews who returned from the Death Camps or partisan units surrounding Minsk including the Zorin Commandos. Those murdered were buried in the Międzyrzec Podlaski (Mizrich) cemetery since the Jewish cemetery in Biała was destroyed by the Nazis and Polish collaborators. Even the broken gravestones cemented onto the cemetery wall between the Jewish and Catholic sections were ripped off the wall. A Memorial in the Biała cemetery erected by survivors after they reburied the Jewish martyrs found in mass graves in Biała Podlaska was twice destroyed in 1946 and 1947 until the Communist government established restored order. One memorial erected at the site of the empty Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Nazis and another memorial erected by Jewish survivors from the town now living in the USA exist. Two former private prayer houses still exist. [March 2009]

CEMETERY: "New" Jewish Cemetery established in the 18th century is located at ul. Nowej in the immediate vicinity of the Catholic cemetery. During the war Germany used the gravestones to build roads. Only two tombstones survived. A Holocaust memorial exists. In the city are buildings and synagogues at ul. Pocztowej 7 oraz przy ul. 7 and Post Street. Łaziennej 2. 2. Łazienna. website [April 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000401
The cemetery is located at Nowa St.

  • Town: Urzad Miejski, ulica Pilsudskiego 3, 21-500 Biala Podlaska.
  • Local: Urzad Gminy, ulica Prosta 31, 21-500 Biala Podlaska.
  • Regional: PSOZ-WKZ, ulica Brzeska 41, 21-500 Biala Podlaska.

The earliest known Jewish community was 1621. The Jewish population (census) before World War II was 8500. The unlandmarked Orthodox cemetery is located on flat suburban land, separate but near other cemeteries, with a sign in Polish and in Hebrew mentioning the Holocaust and Jewish symbols on the gate and walls. Reached by turning directly off a public road (ulica Nowa), access is open to all via a continuous fence and a non-locking gate. The present size of cemetery is 2.71 hectares. No gravestones are visible. Vegetation overgowth is a seasonal problem preventing access. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims. Municipality owns currently unused site. Properties adjacent to the cemetery include a Catholic cemetery. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II. Local/municipal authorities fixed the wall and gate in 1988 but vandals again damaged the monument. Municipal authorities also occasionally clear or clean the cemetery. Michal Witwicki, ulica Dembowskiego 12/53, 02-784 Warszawa, Tel: 6418345 completed survey on 20/08/1991.

photos [April 2009]

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2009 21:30
 
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