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Alternate names: Jasionówka [Pol], Yashinovka [Yid], Yasienuvka [Rus], Russian: Ясёнувка. 53°23' N, 23°02' E, 18 miles NNW of Białystok. 1900 Jewish population: 1,154. Jasionowka situated by the former Warsaw-Vilnus trail in Mońki County, Podlaskie Voivodeship since January 1, 1999, in NE Poland is the village of Jasionówka. The major income source of Jasionowka is agriculture. The population of the Jasionowka gmina's 18 villages is 3147; and Jasionowka the town has 810 inhabitants. Villages and settlements of the gmina: Brzozowka Folwarczna, Czarnystok, Dobrzyniowka, Gornystok, Jasionoweczka, Jasionowka, Kalinowka Krolewska, Kamionka, Katy, Koziniec, Krasne Folwarczne, Krasne Male, Krasne Stare, Krzywa, Kujbiedy, Lekobudy, Milewskie and Slomianka. In 1642 Wladyslaw IV granted Jasionowka city status and also the privilege to organize 3 annual fairs. Although Jasionowka lost its city status, 3 fairs continue to today: Monday before the Ash Wednesday, Tuesday after Holy Trinity Day, and Tuesday following All Saints' Day. In the Jewish cemetery founded in 1800, gravestones from the 1820s and 1830s are visible. Woods, hills, meadows, clean air, crysal clear water, and beavers' dams along Brzozowka River and rare birds mark this area in Knyszynski Forest National Park. [May 2009]

The first Jews settled in Jasionówce in the 16th century and initially were subordinate to the Tykocin kahal. Jewish settlement increased in the town in the next century. Some local Jews traded in goods produced by Tartar tanners. The Jewish population increased rapidly:1765 -242, 1799-346, end of the 19th century-1,154 (73.7%), and 1921-1,306. Jewish homes were mostly in the southern [section and market (rynek) Streets Knyszyńskiej, Białostockie,j and Szkolnej. Two synagogues and mizvahs were located at the market. The first synagogue was built in the mid-17th century replaced by a new brick synagogue in 1864. Difficult economic and political problems in the early 20th century caused no significant decline in Jewish population here. In 1931, 1,279 Jews lived there during increasing anti-Semitism and escalating violence in Poland. (See Jewish Historical Institute Archives. Ringelblum E., Relations Holocaust Victims, No. 301/4923). After September 17, 1939, the Red Army occupied Jasionówka. Part of the Jewish community welcomed them with hope. (1,000 Jews were deported to the Soviet Union for "socialist re-education".) Tomasz Wisniewski's article "Jasionówka Story" ("Morning Courier", nr 60 z dn. 26/27 March 1994) describes an incident regarding the cross in front of the church. The locals will not forget how young Jewish Communists occupiers cut apart a cross in the night. Older religious Jews, warned that was evil, but young Jews did not listen .... Then, came the Germans ... I remembered who beheaded him." A different perspective on this story in the Archives of the Jewish Historical Institute-E. Ringelblum in Warsawentitled The life and destruction of Jewish settlements in Jasionówce says: "On Thursday 26 June 1941, the town remained without authorities, but local people still behaved peacefully. On Friday, June 27, Germans came to town. Poles immediately began to plunder the Jews .... On Saturday morning, the Germans set fire to the part of the city inhabited mostly by Jews: the market, ul. Białystok, Knyszyńska, and many smaller streets. ... The Poles armed with clubs and Germans ordered all the Jews into the church . ... machine guns... the expected quarter hours in the morning, when they came and the German released all". Another resident of Jasionówki, Pesa Szuster Rozenblum, remembered the first day after the withdrawal of Soviet troops slightly differently: "Jewish weakness soon felt the depraved .... They did not wait for the Germans entering, leaving the villages, [they] boldly broke into Jewish homes and took what they could. ... It is understood, only for the Poles as workers opposed and one priest, Fr. Łozowski, opposing, cried not to do so." Previously mentioned Jehoszua Bernard remembers that "two days after we returned home, still it was not easy. The third day we again needed to hide. [Some were taken to the ravine again... young and shot them." In the course of these incidents 74 Jews were killed. The courage and noble attitude of Fr. Łozowski, who according to Pesy Szuster-Rozenblum, beat the rabble with a bat and threatened them with hell. The life of Jews under German occupation became a nightmare. Forced "contributions" and slave labor including forestry, moving stones, and cleaning of roads. Part of the work was intended to only humiliate such as the rabbi and cantor cleaning toilets. The Nazis ordered Jews wearing bands - later converted to Mogen David patches. The difficulty procuring food led to starvation. From time to time there were executions that killed bystanders. On August 28, 1941, seven Jews were murdered, selected by the city manager named folksdojcza Grodzki. A month later in woods near Jasionówki 11 were killed. A group of approximately 40 Jews were taken to Bialystok on trumped up charged where the majority were murdered. In autumn 1942, many Jewish refugees from other Podlasie shtetlach such as Suchowoli, Sejny, Knyszyna, Janow, and Sokółki Korycin arrived. The final destruction of Jewish people Jasionówki occurred during the first days of 1943 as told in the testimony of Simon Złotoryńskiego: "On Monday, January 28 at 6 a.m.,  the whole town was surrounded by German troops and Gestapo with machine guns. Escape was impossible because of the strong guard. Germany and Polish policemen went house to house and threw all the Jews out into the market where they kept the whole day until 6 p.m. Suffering was immense. Many of the elderly and the weak died in the market. About dusk all were forced to the railway station in Knyszynie." According to some studies, the Jews of Jasionówki were transferred to Bialystok and then to Treblinka. Jehoszua Bernard testified that wagons finally reached the labor camp in Czestochowa. After the liberation, dozens of former Jewish residents returned. Simon Złotoryński mentions "42 Jews who managed to remain with the peasants in the forest. ... the local peasants were in wrong address Jews. Rarely did they return things left by the Jews. it was necessary to arrest them. At the end of 1944 .... all other surviving Jews left the town." Thus ended the history of Jewish settlement in Jasionówce.

2007 description, directions, and photos: "The cemetery is located hidden from the county road by a pine ridge forest. The cemetery itself is predominately a grassy field with a few trees. It is situated on a hill, creating a ridge around three sides with varying heights (Images 6,7). At the back is a steep ravine. Remnants of a masonry wall can be found on the western and northern sides. On entering, a grouping of 33 fallen matzevoth are found (Image 1). An additional 200 matzevoth were counted over a c. 3 acres area (Images 6-9), most are found in the first acre as you enter. Matzevoth preserve inscriptions with various degrees of legibility (Images 10-12), many with lichen (Images 8,9,12). More than 100 supports covered with moss and without matzevoth were also noted (Image 8). The greatest threats are the nearby garbage dump, vegetation overgrowth and climate." photo. photos. [April 2009]

CEMETERIES: Jasionowka had two Jewish cemeteries. The oldest, founded about 1750 under the privilege granted in 1731 by the bishop of Vilnius, is located in the center of the village near former ul. Bóżniczej and school in parcel number 170/14, in the vicinity the synagogues. At the cemetery complex of buildings, this cemetery was completely destroyed after WWII and annexed to the barnyard according to Tomasz Wiśniewski. In 1990 a single surviving gravestone was posted on his website. Either as result of full capacity or sanitation, in 1800 , a new cemetery was established north of the village about 200 m to the right of the road to Słomianki, numbered 613. During WWII, Holocaust victims were buried in this cemetery. Szuster-Pesa Rozenblum in his testimony submitted in 1945 before the Provincial Jewish Historical Commission recounted one of these murders: "In the village to the colony in Kamionka peasant K. (abbreviated, but full name is given in the original) accepted nine Jews, then went to Jasionówki to bring the police. The Jews were shot. The girl Bejlke Goldfarb was only injured and stopped breathing, but they did not noticed. The departing police ordered them to carry the Jews to the cemetery. Christians soon began to rob the corpses, even underwear, then transported the bodies to the cemetery, dropped in with fury. When the driver departed, Bejlke Goldfarb escaped." On the 1.18 ha cemetery approximately four tombstones remain, mostly granite in a simple font and only minor relief decoration.The oldest gravestones are from the first half of the 19th century, the work of a local Christian stonemason. Despite the devastation, the layout of row of graves can be discerned. Restoration and an inventory of the gravestones is needed. photosphotos and inscription [May 2009]

also used cemetery at Bialystok II

JASIONOWKA I:     US Commission No. POCE000111

Alternate name: Jasinowka in Yiddish. The town is located in region Bialostockie at 53º23N 23º02E, 40 km from Bialegostoku.

  • Town: Urzad Gminy, Jasionowka, Rynek 32, Tel. 23.
  • Regional: region Konserwator Zabytkow, Bialystok, Dojlidy Parbrz tel. 42-23-32.
  • Interested: Jan Hryniewicki, Jasionowka, Grodzienska 40, tel. 56. Jak 12, Kalman Kania, Bialystok, ul Biala 3/18. Gonew Mosze, Maszla 6 Tel. Aviv, 62-283, Israel.

The earliest known Jewish community dates from the end of the 17th Century. 1921 Jewish population was 1306 (census). Orthodox and Conservative Jews used the cemetery dated from the 18th century as did Jews from Korycin and surrounding villages. The last known Jewish burial was the beginning of the 19th century. The isolated urban flat land, near water has no marker or sign. Reached by crossing private property; access is open with permission. Before World War II the cemetery covered 0.3 hectare but is presently shrunk to 0.15 hectare. One late 18th century slate, rough stone or boulders with Hebrew inscriptions and portrait on the stone is left. There are no structures or mass graves. A private individual owns cemetery used for agricultural. Properties adjacent are agricultural and residential. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. Vegetation overgrowth is a seasonal problem preventing access. The main problem is the total devastation of the cemetery for agriculture.

Tomasz Wisniewski, Bialystok, ul.Bema 95/99, tel. 212-46 completed survey Nov. 27, 1991. The author's findings were the only documentation. He visited 1990 and interviewed Kalman Kania (see Jasionowka II).

JASIONOWKA II:     US Commission No.POCE000112

The cemetery is on the road to Korycin in NE part of town. Present town population is 1000-5000 with no Jews. See Jasionowka I for town information. The earliest known Jewish community existed in the 16th century. The second half of the 17th century saw an influx of both Jews and Tartars. Noteworthy individuals included Rabin Tanchum Gierszon Bilickt, Fajwell Moszkowicz Rozenblum, and Rodzina Fabrykantow Minskich. 1931 Jewish population was 1279. The landmarked Jewish cemetery, 10 km away from the congregation, was established about 1800 with last known Orthodox, Conservative or Progressive-Reform Jewish burial about 1943. Korycin and surrounding villages used it until the first half of the 19th century. A plaque in Polish mentions Jews. The suburban/rural area, between fields and woods at the crown of a small hill is isolated from the rest of town. Access off a public road is open to all with a broken masonry wall, no gate, and no structures. The cemetery was 1.5 hectare before World War II, and is now 1.18 hectare. 100 to 500 gravestones, most in original locations with 25%-50% toppled or broken, date from 1829 to 20th century. The marble, granite, limestone, slate and concrete smooth or double stones of all shapes have Hebrew inscriptions. Some have painting on their surface. About 30 stones were dispersed alongside the primary school. A dozen or so were used during the German occupation to make a rock garden. There are unmarked mass graves. The municipality owns property used only as a Jewish cemetery. Properties adjacent are agricultural and a waste dump. Boundaries have been reduced as a result of the establishment of a gravel pit. Organized individual tours, Jewish and non-Jewish private visitors, and local residents rarely visit the cemetery. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II, occasionally since, but not in the last ten years. Local/municipal authorities and non-Jewish individuals and groups in 1988-1989 cleaned stones and removed vegetation. Vegetation is a moderate threat; security and pollution are slight threat. Individuals and/or authorities and an unpaid caretaker care for the property.

Tomasz Wisniewski, Bialystok ul.Bema 95/99, Tel. 212-46 completed survey on August 10, 1991. Documentation from the board of the Conservator of Monuments: dokumentacya evidencyina camentarza BBiD2 Bialystok 1989 R gov. T. Wisniewskim I, Plichta. T.Wisniewski and I. Plichta visited the site 10 times in 1988 and 1989. Kalman Kania, Bialystok, ul. Biala 3/18 and Gonew Mosze, Maszla G., Tel. Aviv, 62-283 Israel were interviewed.

[Note: In his book Jewish Bialystok on p. 77, Wisniewski write: "A Jewish cemetery (started at the end of 19th century) remains between the raods north to Slomianski and northeast to Korycin. There are more than 400 mazevas left. The town's oldest Jewish cemetery (founded in the 18th century) is in the center of the village. A few tombs still survive."

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:45
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