JELENIEWO: Podlaskie Print

Alternate names: Jeleniewo [Pol], Yelenevo [Rus], Russian: Еленево.ילנייבו- Hebrew, Yelenevi [Yiddish]. 54°12' N, 22°55' E, 7 miles N of Suwałki. Jewish population: ~325 (in 1880), 175 (in 1921). Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), III, pp. 556-557: "Jeleniewo". A village in Suwałki County, Podlaskie Voivodeship in NE Poland and seat of theadministrative district called Gmina Jeleniewo 14 km (9 mi) N of Suwałki and 122 km (76 mi) N of the regional capital Białystok. The village population is 490 with no Jews residing. video. [May 2009]

"Virtual Shtetl"

_____________________________________________________________

Edited June 2011 by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it :

Anthony Tyzenhausa founded Jeleniewo in the 18th century when sixty-four houses held 471 Christians and Jews. Jews arrived in 1808-1825. The rabbi in 1872-1882 was Jakow Gordon, succeeded by Jehuda Jakow Zimerman and Meir Lieberman. The 1880 total population was 659, half of them Jewish. The 1921 census recorded only 471 people including 175 Jews. Tania Katzir, née Fox, who lived in nearby Suwałki before the war remembers: "The Jews in Jeleniewie lived very modestly. They were mainly in agriculture and tailoring. They left on Sunday and worked in Suwałki until Thursday. The homes came alive just before the Sabbath. Some took livestock on Sunday (horses, cows, chickens) to sell later in the city. Almost all had cows and horses. The Jews owned the land. The houses were very primitive, wooden with thatched roof. Rooms were modest. Most homes had one room with the stove, the other was slightly larger, could have two or more chambers. Some homes were a bit beautiful with a strong wooden roof instead. The middle of the village was a small lake with a large number of geese and other birds. Thirty Jewish families lived around the lake. A little further was the church, around which Christians lived in their community. The synagogue was on a side street in the village, surrounded by houses. At the back of a synagogue was a cemetery. The rabbi lived, not far from the shamos Jakow Brajną, wife." There are no pictures. In the archives of the Jewish Historical Institute is building information. On 13 January 1927, the Commission composed of a physician, M. Niemieńskiego, district-municipality mayor Jeleniewo Boleslaw Araszkiewicza, and post commander of the local ..., made a health survey of the existing synagogue and stated the following: Jewish Jeleniewo in the village with a population of 161 Jews has one synagogue .... The synagogue is estimated at approximately one hundred years. No permits for construction. The synagogue is located in a specially built brick building. (..) without entrance stair. Please refresh and renovate it." Jeleniewski shtetl no longer exists. Little is known about the fate of Jews from the Holocaust era in Jeleniewa. Some sought refuge in Lithuania. The Nazis in the village deported others to an unknown direction. In the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem is a record of the conversation of Wenceslas Sznurkowską. His memoirs described the deportation of local Jews: "Some of them were taken one day, and some later. Young were deported first, then the elderly and women  to Suwalki, Suwalki and I do not know where. Chajka (Jewish friend of Mr. Sznurkowskiej) told me that some of them were deported to Augustow.... And none of them have returned to Jeleniewa. No Jew has not returned to Jeleniewa. Neither one." Jews from Jeleniewa probably died in mass executions in gas chambers or one of the death camps. In 1989, Herman Storick, resident of New York and a descendant of Jeleniewo came to the village. Almost the entire Jewish quarter was destroyed. Herman Storick came to see the property that once belonged to the Michałowski and Winkielman families. In the vicinity is also an old Jewish cemetery, forgotten and almost completely devastated. Amid dense vegetation, finding any graves was unthinkable. During his first visit to Jeleniewie, Herman Storick decided that the cemetery would be cleared. Heavy work was conducted in subsequent years, the removal of shrubs and scrubland to discovered preserved parts of matzevot. In 1992, he set a monument at the entrance to the memory of the Jews from Jeleniewa. Herman Storicka thought of the obelisk; and his wife Cecilia did the project. On a simple block of stone was inscribed: "We remember them with love and memories remain alive. Dedicated to the memory of the Jeleniewie Jews, whose eternal resting place is this cemetery and to the others deported to places of destruction in the years 1939 - 1945. Let them rest in peace." The unveiling of the monument took place on August 30, 1992 and became an important event in the small village. Many people from the rural areas attended the ceremony. In subsequent years, the cemetery received a stone wall. At the gate on tablets are the significant words of John Paul II: 'The Jewish cemeteries are part of our common past. They are places of deep spiritual and historical significance. Let the place of those Poles and Jews unite in anticipation of the Court and Resurrection." Herman Storicka also involved new Polish friends like a local parish priest, Father Władysław Podeszwik, interpreter Maria Szymanowska, Jan Jagielski of the Jewish Historical Institute, Krzysztof Malczewski from the travel agency, Jewish Heritage Travel Service, and employees of the Foundation Borderland. Storicka and John Jagielskiego of the Jewish Historical Institute and the Borderland Foundation created a brochure entitled "The Jews Jeleniewa" with the history of the Jews and information about the cemetery. Storick made a film "Pilgrimage to Jeleniewa" that records his experiences and documents the monument unveiling ceremony at the renovated Jewish cemetery in Jeleniewie. Television stations in the United States, churches, and synagogues showed the film. Source. [May 2009] See cemetery history and photo. [June 2011]

In the archives of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw is data on the synagogue recorded as follows: "On 13th January, 1927 the Commission composed of a physician, M. Niemienskiego, district municipality mayor of Jeleniewo, Boleslaw Araszkiewicza and post commander of the local (unknown), made a health survey of the existing synagogue and stated the following: Jeleniewo, a village with a population of 161 Jews has one synagogue. The synagogue is estimated at approximately one hundred years old (1827). No permits exist for construction. The synogogue is located in a specially built brick building without a stair entrance. It needs to be refreshed and renovated." The Jeleniewo shtetl no longer exists. Little is known about the fate of the Jews from the holocaust era in Jeleniewo. Some sought refuge in Lithuania. The Nazis in the village deported others to a unknown destination. In the holocaust museum in Jerusalem (Yad Vashem) there is a record of the conversation with Waclawa Sznurkowska. Her memoirs described the deportation of the local Jews. "Some of them were taken one day, and some later. The young were deported first, then the elderly and women to Suwalki. I do not know where. Chajka (A Jewish friend of Mrs. Sznurkowska) told me that some of them were deported to Augustow...and none of them ever returned to Jeleniewo. No Jew has returned to Jeleniewo, not one." Jews from Jeleniewo probably died in gas chambers at death camps, perhaps Treblinka.

In 1989, Herman Storick, resident of Larchmont New York and a descendant of Jeleniewo, came to the village. Almost all of the Jewish quarter of the village was destroyed. He came to village where the Michalowski and Winkielman familes, his relatives, once lived. In the vicinity there is an old Jewish cemetary, forgotten and almost completely devastated. Amid dense vegetation, finding any graves was unthinkable. During his first visit to Jeleniewo, Herman Storick along with his wife Cecilia and son Adam, decided that the cemetery be cleared. Heavy work was conducted in the years following, with the assistance of Polish guide and friend Krzysztof Malczewski. In 1992 a monument was set up near it's entrance, dedicated to the memory of the Jews of Jeleniewo. On a simple block of stone was inscribed in both Yiddish and Polish:

"In love they are remembered and in memory they live. Dedicated to the memory of the Jews of Jeleniewo whose eternal resting place is this cemetery and to the others deported to places of death in the years 1939-1945."

May they rest in peace."

The unveiling of the monument took place on August 30th, 1997 and became an important event in the small village. Many people from the village and rural areas attended the ceremony.

Herman Storick also involved new Polish friends like the local parish priest Father Wladyslaw Podeszwik, interpreter Maria Szymanowska, Jan Jagielski of the Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw) and Krzysztof Malczewski President of the Jewish Heritage Travel Service. Mr. Storick and Jan Jagielski along with the employees of the Borderland Foundation in Sejny, created a brochure in Polish entitled "Zydzi Jeleniewa". The brochure contains the history of the Jews and information about the Eighteenth century cemetery. Mr. Storick made a video entitled "Pilgrimage to Jeleniewo" that records his experiences as well as documenting the unveiling ceremony at the renovated Jewish cemetery. Television stations in the United States, churches and synagogues showed the film.

______________________________________________________________________

Before WW II, the cemetery contained about 500 graves, most destroyed by the Nazis for road construction. Some were stolen after the war. In recent years, an inventory helped to identify thirty gravestones. Certainly under the earth are more matzevot. Near the gate are the concrete foundations of destroyed graves. Gravestones in Jeleniewie were mostly field and granite stones, raw materials commonly available in Suwalki. Hebrew inscriptions are usually short. Since for many years, the Jews do not use surnames, most matzevot identity the deceased's father's name. Surnames only appear on two gravestones, those of Chaim Wartelski, who died in 1864, and Jakow Postawelsk, who died in 1914. Most remaining matzevot date from the mid-19th century with the oldest from 1765. The cemetery is located at the entrance to the village from Suwalki on a narrow road through the area, running between Posesjami Street, Suwalskiej 20, and 22. photos and gravestone inscriptions. [May 2009]

Restoration in September 1997. Approximately 35 memorial stones were salvaged, some dating back to 1788 and possible one dating to 1765. A stone wall was completed. A villager cares for the cemetery for a nominal annual fee. The gate has two Stars of David. On each stone pillar bordering the gate is a plaque with the following inscription in Hebrew and in Polish. "Jewish cemetery...I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 23rd Psalm David" A memorial stone to the Jews of Jeleniewo is just beyond the gate and was dedicated about five years ago in the presence of the two remaining Jews in nearby Suwalki, the local priest, and approximately 75 villagers. The Jewish traditional holy prayers were recited in English and translated into Polish. Kaddish was read in the traditional Aramaic and in Polish. A video documented this unique event. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date 1998?]

The cemetery is located off the main road between Suwalki and the center of the village, a right turn off public road to small cemetery road. Town population is 800 with no Jews.

Town: Beata Ordunowska, Urzad Gminy, ul. Sloneczna 316-404 Jeleniewo (region Suwalki), tel: 661822.

Regional: Stanislaw Tumidajewicz, Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, 16-400 Suwalki ul, Koscuszki 7 tel: 662167. Wojewodzkie Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach, ul. Kosciuszki 69,16-400 Suwalki, tel: 662167. Janusz Mackiewicz (relic curator), Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, ul. Kosciuszki 7, Suwalki.

caretaker with key: Jozef Pilichowski, 16404 Jeleniewo, region Suwalki, Poland.

Interested: Jan Jagielski c/o Zydowski Instytut Historyczny, ul. Tlomackie 3/5, 00-090 Warszawa, Poland and Krzysztof Malczewski, Jewish Heritage Travel Service, inc., Ul. Styrska apt 1, 04-188 Warszawa, Poland.

The synagogue was off to the side of the village with houses surrounding it. The cemetery was behind the synagogue. The cemetery is land-marked: 534/917/D/92 registered 2 September 1992. The isolated rural (agricultural) flat land has a sign in Yiddish and Polish (memorial stone) and Polish and Hebrew inscriptions on the gate or wall and Star of David on gate or wall. The sign mentions the Holocaust and the Jewish community. Reached by turning directly off a public road between Suwalki NW direction to Jeleniewo, right turn to a smaller road between private houses to the cemetery. Access is open to all. A continuous masonry wall completed in 1997 and a gate that locks surround the cemetery. The cemetery is and was 45 hectares. 31 gravestones are in the cemetery. Water drainage is a seasonal problem. The oldest known gravestone dates from 1788 with one possible from 1765-6. The sandstone, granite, and limestone tombstones are flat-shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, common gravestones, and double tombstones with Hebrew inscriptions. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and the Jewish community. No known mass graves. The municipality owns the property used only for Jewish cemetery. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. Occasionally, private visitors stop. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII and between 1945 and ten years ago. Restoration: re-erection of stones, patching broken stones, clearing vegetation, and fixing wall by Jewish individuals abroad. The memorial stone was done in 1992 and the stone walls and plaques in 1996-7. Care: caretaker paid by Jewish individual abroad. No structures. Uncontrolled access and vegetation are moderate threats. Weather erosion and vandalism are slight threats. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Larchmont, NY completed survey on 30 October 1997 using documentation from the Jewish Historical Institute (Warsaw-Jan Jagielski); Internet: Polish Jewish Cemeteries by Neil Rosenstein, US Commission for America's Heritage Abroad. Dr. Janusz Mackiewicz and Herman and Cecilia Storick in company of Krzysztof Malczewski and Jan Jagielski visited the site in 1992 and 1997. No interviews were conducted.

 

 

US Commission Survey No. POCE000133

Located in Suwalskie at 22 54 E º54 12 N, 12 km from Suwalki. The cemetery is in the E part of village. Present town population is under 1,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Beata Ordunowska, Urzad Gminy, ul. Sloneczna 3, 16-404 Jeleniewo, Tel. 661822.
  • Regional: Stanislaw Tumidajewicz-Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, 16-400 Suwalki, ul. Kosciuszki 7, Tel. 663741
  • Interested: Wojewodzkie Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach, ul. Kosciuszki 69, Tel. 662167.

The earliest known Jewish community was the late 18th century. 1927 Jewish population was 161. The cemetery was established in the 4th quarter of the 18th century. Landmarked: number 534/917/d/92, registered 9/2/1992 r. The isolated suburban flat land has signs or markers in Hebrew and Polish mentioning the Holocaust and Jews. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all. A continuous fence with a locking gate surrounds. The cemetery size before WWII and now is.3 ha. 20-100 gravestones in the cemetery, 1-20 gravestones in original location with less than 25% toppled or broken, date from the 18th-20th centuries. The granite, limestone and sandstone flat stones or finely smoothed and inscribed stones have Hebrew inscriptions. The cemetery contains special monuments to Holocaust victims but no known mass graves. Municipality owns property used as a Jewish cemetery only. Properties adjacent are agricultural and residential. Private visitors and local residents visit rarely. The cemetery was vandalized during WW II. Stones were recreated and cleaned and vegetation cleared in the early 1990s by Jewish individual abroad. Individuals occasionally clean the cemetery now. There are no structures. Threats: Vegetation is a moderate threat; and weather erosion is a slight threat.

Dr. Janusz Mackiewicz, 16-400 Suwalki, ul. 1 Maja 27a/47, Tel. 663756 or 663741 completed survey on Sept. 20, 1994.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2011 19:19