KOLNO: Podlaskie Print

Coat of arms of Kolno

Alternate names: Kolno [Pol], Kolna [Yid], Kalinas [Lith], Kol'no, Кольно [Rus], Kolne. קולנה-Hebrew. 53°25' N, 21°56' E, 17 miles NNW of Łomża (Lomzhe). 1900 Jewish population: 2,763. Yizkors: Sefer zikaron le-kehilat Kolno (Tel Aviv, 1971) and Kolno na Mazowszu (Warszawa, 1982). Kolno, a town in NE Poland about 150 km NE of Warsaw, is the seat of Kolno County and seat of the smaller administrative district of Gmina Kolno, but it is not part of this district since the town has gmina status in its own right. 2007 population: 10,730. In July 1941, the majority of Jewish population of town was murdered by German killing squads. [June 2009]

CEMETERY: The Kolno Jewish cemetery is located on a hill near ul. Aleksandrowski. Czesław Brodzick, in his book Kolno in Mazowsze, wrote that on September 18, 1817 authorities consented to establishment of the Jewish cemetery located "225 rods" from the city. The Jewish Community (kahal) committed to pay an annual rent of 18 €. Until the creation of the cemetery, the Jews of Kolna buried their dead in Śniadowie and Lomza. Szymon Datner in The Destruction of the Jews in Kolnie (Jewish Historical Institute Archives Ringelblum E., No 301/1996) described these events: "5 July 1941 Germany and their Polish helpers forced the entire population to gather around the monument to Lenin. Accompanied by cruel beating, the Jews had to break down the statue. Rubble was loaded on a wagon by the Jews amid ( .....) jokes and laughter came from the population as to the column of Jews moved along to the Jewish cemetery singing Hatikvah. (....) At the cemetery, where a grave had been dug, the Nazis ordered them to pray and sing with great joy and bury the debris from the Lenin statue. The end of the ceremony and at the exit of the cemetery, Polish hooligans form a line and beat the Jews on the head." Probably shortly after these events began a process of destroying the cemetery that continued even after liberation. In the Book of Remembrance Kolna, Rachel Alter-Borkowski wrote after a cemetery visit in 1961: "The fence is ruined, the graves - no monuments, here and there are fragments. ... I sought my mother's grave at the place where - as I remembered - she was buried. ... a Pole said to me, ‘here the Germans opened a tomb for Szepsela Melcherskiego the gravedigger and forced him to dig the grave and put him in it.' Szepsela the gravedigger was no more and with him went the list of the dead." In the 1980s, an alarming letter sent to the Jewish Historical Institute by Kolna said, 'The cemetery in Kolnie is a fenced, but cows graze the whole summer with only some still visible traces of graves." For sixty years after the war, the cemetery awaited rescue. Only in 2005 was the cemetery restored with the fence fixed and gate set with relevant inscriptions in Polish, Hebrew and English. The work was done thanks to the involvement of New York Rabbi Besser Szlomo, the family of [born in Kolna] Emanuela Toporowitza Foundation and Fundacji Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego [Preservation of Jewish Heritage organization]. Despite devastation in the cemetery, quite a number of group matzevot survived, most of the simple granite boulders. On them are Jewish art sepulchral reliefs depicting candles, lions, and crown. Row shows the layout of burials with the oldest preserved tombstone from 1824. The cemetery is entered in the register of historic buildings under the number 373/88. Photos. Map. Photos. A rededication of the Jewish cemetery took place on November 23, 2005. The cemetery was fenced and cleaned up under Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland supervision and an anonymous donor/descendant of a Kolno Jewish family, and rabbi Shlomo Besser from the International Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Memorial Sites. The ceremony was attended by a large group of descendants of the Kolno Jews from Israel and US, Rabbi Besser, Cantor Yitzchok Halevi, and representatives of the local authorities. The 1.8 hectare cemetery fence was built by the Foundation. The town is to built a road to the cemetery on the outskirts of Kolno. Students from the John Paul II Secondary School in Kolno are to maintain the cemetery. photos. [May 2009]

Located at Latitude/Longitude 53° 25' N; 21° 56' E, 89 miles NNE of Warsawa in Lomza Gubernia according to the ShtetLink.[February 2002]

"I visited Kolno in 1990. We were directed to the remains of the Jewish Cemetery, which was in a state of almost complete destruction/desecration and abandonment. It was located in the middle of a field, apparently part of a farm. Gravestones were smashed; lettering was barely readable; cow dung and weeds were on the site. It was largely reduced to rubble." A book written by an American whose mother was from Kolno was just [date?]published: Rumors and Stones by Wayne Karlin, Curbstone Press, Willimantic, Conn. describing, among other things, his visit to Kolno in 1993. He was unable to find the Jewish cemetery. Karlin described the destruction of Kolno's Jewish community in his book. Source: David Burstein, MD; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 173 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10024. [date? 1990s?]

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 June 2009 03:11