LOMZA: Podlaskie Print

Coat of arms of Łomża Alternate names: Łomża [Pol], Lomzhe, לאמזשע [Yid], Lomzha, Ломжа [Rus]. 53°11' N, 22°05' E, Capital of Łomża gubernia, 1867-1918. 1900 Jewish population: 8,752. Yizkors: Sefer zikaron le-kehilat Lomza (Tel Aviv, 1952). Lomzhe; ir oyfkum un untergang (New York, 1957). Lomze: moment un zikhroyn (New York, 1946). ShtetLink. Łomża is a town in NE Poland, 90 miles (150 km) from Warsaw and 50 miles (81 km) from Białystok on the Narew river and has been in the Podlaskie Voivodeship since 1999, previously the capital of the Lomza Voivodeship (1975-1998). Capital of Łomża powiat,. Łomża is the principal economic, educational and cultural center in NE Masovia and one of the three main cities of Podlaskie Voivodeship (Białystok and Suwałki). Before 1830, Jews were exiled from Lomza and buried their dead in Sniadowo. [June 2009]

A 13th century Royal Decree granted Jews the right to settle in Poland. The first official documentation of Jews in Lomza dates from 1494. In 1556, the Jews were expelled. While some returned in the next decades, they again were expelled in 1598. Not until the 18th century did Jews obtain permission to trade in the city and thereafter played a significant role in the economy as owners of factories, mills, and the grain trade created in January 1863. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of approximately 1,000 had a yeshiva, a hospital, several Jewish schools, newspapers, and political parties. Before WWII began, Jews were about 50% of the 20,000 population. After the Soviet attack on Poland in 1939, for some time the Polish Red Army occupied Łomża. In June 1941, Łomża was occupied by the Germans, who two months later organized the ghetto. From June to September 1941, 3,500 Jews were murdered in the nearby forests. In November 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and the Jews sent to the camp in Zambrowie, where some were killed or died from disease and the rest sent to Auschwitz. By enclosing łomża Jews in the ghetto (official name "Jewish residential areas"), burials were in the adjacent cemetery at ulica Rybaki, the Old Cemetery. Cemetery photos. [May 2009]

Old Cemetery: Established in Łomża on a high bank of the Narwi near the top of the castle on the road to Szuru leading to the refineries (current ulica Rybaki).  In recent years, restoration of the city cemetery was ordered. Preserved gravestones were set into three groups and a lapidarium created in the original urban park. Virtually all tombstones are granite with inscriptions and symbols of lions, crowns and candlesticks. Graves are considered property of a family so nothing can be removed or altered without consent of the owner. Without a conservator, the cemetery went to ruin with the majority of graves lost; however, preserved tombs and gravestones show a high level of stone art. Inscriptions in Hebrew, the top contains gravestone symbolism and ornaments. Inscriptions with name, place of birth, date of death, occupation, Cohan-Levite-Israel, etc is legible and can be read with the symbolism. The ulica Wąskiej cemetery remains abandoned virtually by all. Visitors seeking graves of family members may not find the burial. Since 1999, the Lomza Jewish Cemetery Foundation carries out cemetery maintenance with a permanent U.S. representative to the Foundation in Lomza. This Foundation's financial support systematically implements restoration and maintenance; so far, all the tombs were cleaned and more than two hundred matzevot renovated. [May 2009]

Old Cemetery: The Old Cemetery located about half a mile from Old Market maintained as a lapidarium. An artist's rendition of the cemetery before the Germans destroyed it exists. At some point after WWII, when it was time to restore the cemetery and put back the stones that had been removed and found, memories of individual townspeople was the source for re-positioning the stones. Ergo, there is no way to be certain who, if anyone, is buried under any given stone. David Linden; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . [date?]

New Cemetery: Development of the Jewish community in the city by 1892 required establishment of a new cemetery. This new cemetery on ulica Wąskiej is on the slope leading down east. The rectangle cemetery plots of 212.5 x 78.5 m, (originally about 95-100 m.) represent the founders' recta-linear preference with thirty sections. The new fence has been moved to areas where graves remain, more than 1.6 hectares, together with a mortuary building on the southern side of the cemetery and the main entrance. Two sections have a playground with a few graves, formerly the Potters Field for poor Jews. Most graves have no stone casing or gravestones, only earth in the shape of a grave covered with grass. The cemetery was open for almost fifty years until July 1941 and Nazi repression. Section 1 as of March 2004: Gravestone reliefs and interesting inscriptions about the life of the deceased, Cohan-Levite-Israel, and symbolism and ornamentation of masterful stonework. Of the 144 gravestones, only 26 gravestones or their remains have been found. MASS GRAVE: Mass murder sites and memorial monuments exist side by side with a single-family housing development adjacent to the cemetery. The flat gravestones became building materials for foundations of houses. This 16.4 x 30 m (495 sq m) section is located in the northern part of the cemetery on the slope leading slightly downward. Gravestones may buried in the earthen hills overgrown with grass. On both sides of the wall are numerous fragments of the destroyed fence. Section 2 as of April 2004: The Jewish community of Łomża's cultural identity, of Hebrew and Jewish traditions and customs are evident in both the Orthodox, traditional gravestones and those of the assimilated Jews of Lomza. Reliefs on gravestones differentiate between the Jews of the community by occupation, charitable activities, and social background. Also, information about survivors can be seen on matzevot throughout the cemetery, not just in Section 2. Of the previous 156 graves in this section, only 44 sandstone gravestones remain. Other graves without a stone enclosure or gravestone can be distinguished by their shape in the grass. Only 7 Intact gravestones with inscriptions remain. 26 graves and 18 gravestones with inscriptions are set to the west and to the rear alley. A lack of gravestones is found in the western part close to the wall and parts of the northern section. A smaller number of matzevot suggests they may have been stolen near the stone wall or that the location was unpopular. The west wall is a series of garden plots for the buildings. The building wall prevents further destruction to the cemetery entrance from the west. Section 2 is 16.5 x 33 m or 544 m2. [May 2009]

Mass Graves: In November 1942, the Nazis murdered approximately 3,500 Jews. In total, they shot about 9,000. Jews from the ghetto were buried in a mass grave in the forest. Almost all died at the mass execution; only a very few managed to escape. At the cemetery, a group of young Poles and Jews also was shot. [May 2009]

information about the Old Cemetery and the New Cemetery. Photographs and information about the restoration. [December 2000]

1999 restoration from Jewish News. Information about Lomza. Source: Yigal Rechtman; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]

REFERENCE: They Lived Among Us: Polish Judaica, a travel brochure: Arline Sachs, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 76

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2009 00:42