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Coat of arms of Chełm

Alternate names: Chełm [Pol], Chelm [Yid], Khelm [Rus], Kholm [Ukr], Chelem, Khelem, Chołm, Russian: Хелм. U Холм. כעלם-Yiddish, חלם-Hebrew. 51°08' N, 23°30' E, 41 miles E of Lublin. Yizkors: Sefer ha-zikaron le-kehilat Chelm; 40 shana le-hurbana (Tel Aviv, 1980/81) and Yisker-bukh Chelm (Johannesburg, 1954. Jewish settlement dated from at least 1492 according to a gravestone from that date that still existed in the early 20th century. 1900 Jewish population: 7,226.

A Jewish temple from 1912-1914 (Kopernika Street at Kolejowa Street) and a renovated kirkut - a defunct Jewish cemetery remain, but the cemetery has now become part of a park with 100 matzevot still surviving. photos A city in eastern Poland with 72,595 inhabitants in 2005 located SE  of Lublin, north of Zamość and south of Biała Podlaska and 25 km from the Ukraine border, the city was built on chalk hills and surrounded by marshy lowlands quite close to the current border with Belarus. Dug into the chalk under the city on a multi level are extensive cave systems, created by the mining of chalk that served as protection for the population in times of war and can be visited. Once, many people in the town had their own entrance to the system under their house for both shelter and their own mining. Chelm is home to many people whose ancestors fled Ukraine due to incursions by the Turks. Since 1999 located in the Lublin Voivodeship, previously the town was capital of a separate voivodeship, the city is mostly industrial with numerous historical monuments and tourist attractions. A historical region of the Land of Chełm, administratively a part of the Ruthenian Voivodeship with the capital in Lwów. The town is the legendary capital of foolishness in Jewish humor made especially famous by Isaac Bashevis Singer. In December 1939, Germany deported the Jews to Sokal in the Soviet occupation zone. In May 1941, about two Chełma one thousand Jews from Slovakia were sent here. In May, 1942, almost all of the Jewish population was killed in Sobibór extermination camp during The Holocaust. Some managed to hide in the underground tunnel system below the city. Mass killing took place in the nearby Borek forest nearby at the end of 1943 in a temporary crematorium. The early 20th century synagogue at Kopernika 8 was renovated and is used now as a wedding site by a private owner. town website.  [April 2009]


The 1.94 ha site located at ul. Kolejowej was devastated by the Germans, whose factory drainage damaged while many valuable tombstones were used for road construction. In the 1960s, the cemetery with tombstones became something like a square. About a hundred fragments and gravestones remain, mostly from the interwar period. In the 1990s, the cemetery was cleared, cleaned, and restored. website shows gravestones in situ in a house foundation and in a drainage ditch. [April 2009]

REFERENCE: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 41.
"(of so many Jewish fables) The cemetery is in ruins." Source: Freedman, Warren. World Guide for the Jewish Traveler. NY: E.P. Dutton Inc, 1984. Extracted by Bernard Kouchel, z"l

"The Jewish cemetery has received some care, it has a reasonable perimeter fence and even the grass gets cut over much of it every so often. There are very few original headstones still standing, sadly the few remaining originals are hidden in brush at the back and only replicas dot the maintained part. The hidden stones are a favoured spot for drinkers and drug addicts, but the rest of the cemetery is pleasantly peaceful." Source with photos. The cemetery on Staroscianska and Kolejowa streets established in the 18th century was destroyed by the Nazis and partially built over in the post-war period, cleaned, and fenced in 1990s by the Nissenbaum Foundation. A monument was made of extant gravestone fragments and postwar graves in the cemetery. photos. [April 2009]

burial list and gravestone photos [August 2014]

burial list [Jan 2015]

US Commission No. AS109

Alternate names: Chelem and Khelm. Chelm is located in Chelm woj at 51º08 23º30, 70 km E from Lublin. Cemetery: r69 M. Kolejowej, Starosciniskiej. Present town population is 25,000-100,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Prezydent Mirstr Chelma.
  • Regional: Wojewodzki Konservator Zabytkow, Chelm, ul. Lubelski 63, tel. 650085, 655972.

Photos from FODZ/Facebook [March 2015] and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [April 2015]

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 May 2015 20:56
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