LEZAJSK: Podkarpackie Print

Coat of arms of Leżajsk Alternate names: Leżajsk [Pol], Lizhensk, ליזענסק [Yid], Lizhansk, Lezansk, Lyzhansk, Lezhaysk, Lezhajsk. 50°16' N, 22°25' E, 24 miles NE of Rzeszów, 21 miles NW of Jarosław, 16 miles NNE of Łańcut. Jewish population: 1,868 (in 1880), 1,705 (in 1910). yizkors: Lizhensk; sefer zikaron le-kedoshei Lizhensk she-nispu be-shoat ha-natsim (Tel Aviv, 1970) and Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland vol. 3: Western Galicia and Silesia (Jerusalem, 1984). Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), V, pp. 193-195: "Leżajsk". ShtetLink. The Free Royal Town of Leżajsk, (Wolne Królewskie Miasto Leżajsk) is a town in SE Poland with 14,127 inhabitants in 2006. Jews lived here in the early 16th century. In 1635, the Jews obtained a royal privilege for brewing beer and producing honey. For many years, Jews involved in trade were a significant percentage of the population. In 1932, local Jews held 174 stores, while the Poles and Ukrainians had only fourteen. In the 18th century, itinerant preacher Elimelech Lippman, later called Elimelech of Leżajsk, settled here. Student of the Great Magid Dov Ber Międzyrzecza, he was one of the most important tzaddikim as creator of the Chassidic movement. He wrote many religious works, of which the most important treatise was "Noam Elimelech". His students like Itzhak Jaakow Ha-Levi Horowitz "seer of Lublin, Menachem Mendel of Rymanow, Abraham Joshua Heszl from Opatow later settled in various cities. Thanks to the Elimelech, Lezajsk became one of the most important centers of Chasidism in Europe. Elimelech's grave is a pilgrimage site for Chassidim from all over the world, who come for miraculous healing. Many arrive on the anniversary of his death, 21 Adar. Leżajsk known for its Bernadine basilica and monastery built by the architect Antonio Pellacini with pipe organ from the second half of the 17th century is also home of the Leżajsk brewery. Iin the Subcarpathian Voivodship since 1999 and capital of Leżajsk County, the town is crossed by a forest creek, ‘Jagoda'. [May 2009]

The Jewish Cemetery in Lezajsk was probably founded in the 18th century with the emergence of local kahał. PreWWII, the Jewish cemetery was separated from ul. Górnej by a deep ravine. On the site is an openwork brick wall, fence, and iron gate courtesy of the Nissenbaum Family Foundation.  Forgotten gravestones are still in the city. Lezajski cemetery was not the only Jewish burial place. During the occupation, they died in various places. Based on the multi-analysis, research and consultation with a number of witnesses the following additional places of burial of these Jews was established:

  • 2 men (Zeible) at schools in the Podstawowej No. 2 (about 8 m from ul. Mickiewicza and 4 m from the northern border
  • Man l - ul. Dolnej, Lower, near the former Dołęgów home
  • 2 women and 3 children - ul. Sanowa 38  (Sara Wagner with children and Loni Henie and her sister-in-law with his son),
  • Rűbenfeldów Street. Sanowej 20, Sanowej 20,
  • 3 men (2 Polish Jews) - the former a well in the courtyard of a plot of Sądu,
  • More than a dozen people on the edge of the forest Wierzawickiego on the right side of the road in the direction of Jaroslaw,
  • 3 person (Galler - mother and 2 sons) to "Chałupkach" on Malców,
  • Approximately 20-25 children in the Jewish mass grave on the right side of the entrance to the cemetery (trafo station)
  • 10-12 Jews from Giedlarowej and 4-person family with Riimlera Żołynia, and in the Brzozy Królewskiej in different hiding places of the Kűrschenblatt family,
  • 2 March 1994 excavation in the area of the streets Rzeszowska - Mickiewicza junction were found on the remains of human skeleton. ]The next day, the Services Division MZK funeral exhumed of the remains of the skeleton to the Municipal Cemetery. (Bulletin No. Have ski. 2/3/94),
  • Jew in Soviet uniform, who died at Potaschera home in December 1944 or January 1945.,
  • In spring 1944, during the night the German gendarmerie murdered 4 unknown in the Jewish cemetery, Poles of all ages.

During WW II, the cemetery was almost completely destroyed. Only a single gravestone remains in situ. Purportedly the German, who emptied the tzaddik's tomb and finding him in perfect condition, shortly afterward, contracted a deadly disease. Restoration of cemetery was by Boruch Safir, Janine Ordyczyńską, Mendel Reichberg, and the Nissenbaum Family Foundation. The ohel was reconstructed and gravestones recovered from around the city. At the end 2007, the rear cemetery wall was built and several dozen matzevot found, some with traces of polychrome. The ohel consists of three parts, the tomb of Leżajsk Elimelech and some members of his family. The other two house separate prayer rooms for men and women. The original matzevot wall of Elimelech was found in the city after the war. For almost thirty years, since the rebuilding of the ohel in 1962, the cemetery caretaker and keyholder was Janina Ordyczyńska. She died on August 13, 1990. The key to the ohel then was held by her daughter, Krystyna Kiersnowski, who died in 2006 of a myocardial infarction resulting after an incident with a very aggressive pilgrim from New York. Currently, the key is available from Ślanda (tel. 604 536 914). The entrance fee is 5 €. Photos. city history. "The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has repaired the fence of the Jewish cemetery in Lezajsk. Segments of the original fence, stolen few years ago, were replaced with the new ones. Lezajsk is one of the municipalities taking part in the Foundation's 'Chassidic Route' project." Source [May 2009]

photo. [August 2005]

US Commission No. POCE000489

(Alternate name: Lizhensk in Yiddish) Lezajsk is in Rzeszow at 50º 16 22º 26, 45 km N from Rzeszow. Cemetery location: Gorna St. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Miasta, Rynek 1, Lezajsk.
  • Regional: Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, 35-069 Rzeszow, ul. Gninwddzk 15.
  • Cemetery caretaker: Orczynska, Lezajsk, ul. Gorna 12.

The earliest known Jewish community was 1538. 1921 Jewish population was 1,575 and in 1939 was 3,000. In 1939, Germans burned the synagogue. Living here was Tzadakkim Elimelech (Rabbi Lizeaker) in the 18th century (also buried here). The Orthodox Jewish cemetery, 200 m from synagogue, was established in 18th century with last burial 1939. Landmark: (A-1228/1005 1991). The isolated suburban flat land has no sign, but has Jewish symbols on gate or wall. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission. There is a fence with a locking gate. The size of the cemetery before WWII and now is 2300 sq. m. 1-20 tombstones in the cemetery, less than 25% are broken or toppled, date from 19th-20th century. The limestone and sandstone rough stones or boulders, flat shaped stones, or flat stones with carved relief decoration have Hebrew inscriptions. Some have traces of painting on their surfaces, iron decorations or lettering, and/or other metallic elements. No known mass graves. The national Jewish community and the municipality own site used for Jewish cemetery only. Properties adjacent are agricultural and residential. The cemetery area is smaller than in 1939 due to housing development and agriculture. [This contradicts another question that states the size is the same.] Frequently, organized Jewish groups, private visitors, and local residents visit. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. Jewish individuals within Poland and abroad and the Nissenbaum Foundation fixed wall and gate in 1986. Within the cemetery is an ohel. Incompatible planned development is a very serious threat.

Natascha Rode, 35-213 Rzeszow, ul. Starzynskiego 5/29 visited site and completed survey 24 April 1992. No interviews.

BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 54

BOOK: "Lizhensk: only the rebuilt tomb of the chasidic leader Elimelech of Lizhensk d. 1786was seen." Source: Cohen, Chester G. "Jewish Cemeteries in Southern Poland" from `An Epilogue' in Shtetl Finder. 1980.

Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 12:22