LOSICE: Mazowieckie Print

Coat of arms of ŁosiceAlternate names: Łosice [Pol], Loshitz, לאָשיץ [Yid], Loshits, Loshitse, Russian: Лосице. 52°13' N, 22°43' E, 18 miles E of Siedlce, 16 miles N of Międzyrzec Podlaski. 1900 Jewish population: 2,396. yizkors: Pinkas ha-kehilot; entsiklopediya shel ha-yishuvim le-min hivasdam ve-ad le-aher shoat milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniya: Poland vol. 7: Kielce and Lublin (Jerusalem, 1999) and Loshits; lezeykher an umgebrakhte kehile (Tel Aviv, 1963). This town in E Poland in Masovian Voivodeship since 1999 and previously in Biała Podlaska Voivodeship (1975-1998) is the seat of Łosice powiat. The cemetery was established by the privilege granted by King John III Sobieski on May 30, 1690. This act also enabled Jews to settle in Łosice. The Jewish cemetery is located at the current ulica Piłsudskiego near the bus station. The first documentation of the operation of the cemetery comes from the 1734. During World War II, the Nazis destroyed the cemetery. Gravestones were used for road construction and for paving the yard of premises occupied by the Germans as the gendarmerie post. After WWII, survivors from Łosice attempted in vain to recover gravestones and transfer them to the cemetery. In 1960s, planned construction of a monument using matzevot also never happened. In the damaged cemetery, authorities set up a park and another year organized in this place for fun and dance festivals with leading entertainment stars of Poland. On the graves of former Jewish residents also was a garden Jordanowski. Conversations about restoration of the cemetery in the 1980s involved members of the Friends of the Earth and the staff of Łosicki Jewish Historical Institute. A breakthrough came only in 2001. Increasing pressure from Łosice Jews including Warren Grynberg, Viktor Levin, Isaak Ajzenberg, and Norman Weinberg, in cooperation with the organization Polish-Jewish Renewal Project of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland enabled recovery of gravestones. In August 2003, the mayor of the city and the new owner of the property on which the stolen gravestones were installed, signed a settlement with the Jewish group. They began searching for matzevot, which were then transported in the company's mobile-Gaz. Over the next year, the Jewish group collected funds necessary to build a lapidarium. In November and December 2007, the cemetery was fenced. Recovered gravestones brought here, some thirty, were set vertically next to the entrance. Several dozen more are inside of the newly built fence. A few hundred matzevot remain unused in the project. Tadusza Kulasa, architect of Warsaw University of Technology, designed the lapidarium. A concrete platform is used for orchestras when the cemetery/park holds open-air events. The oldest preserved gravestones come from the first half of the 19th century. On May 20, 2008, a ceremony was held in the cemetery attended by Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors, representatives of local authorities, representatives of the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland and the Catholic Church, as well as Łosice residents. The original polychrome gravestones (gold, yellow, blue, black, and red similar to wooden synagogues and the hues of Marc Chagall) represent the largest collection of Jewish gravestone art of that type on the southern Podlasie. photos. "Everyday Life in the town Łosice XVII - XVIII century" in Polish. photos. photos. video. We Remember Jewish Losice. The Canadian Jewish News article [May 2009]

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it visited the site several times including in 2004. He has interviewed many people since 1991 regarding the site. A restoration project plans to return the recovered gravestones to the cemetery. Supervising this project is The Poland Jewish Cemeteries Restoration Project. Information about the project. Information about and photos of the some of the recovered matzevot. [January 2006]

US Commission No. POCE000395

Pre-W.W.II site located on ulica Pilsudskiego (formerly Siedlecka) in Biala Podlaska at 52º13' 22º43', 30 km NNE of Siedlce. Alternate Yiddish name is Loshits.
Present total town population is 5,000 - 25,000 with no Jews.

The earliest known Jewish community dates from the early 1600s. Jewish population as of last census before World War II was 3500. Fires on at least two occasions destroyed a large portion of the town; the wooden synagogue also was destroyed. Antisemitism claimed both property and lives occasionally. With the Nazi occupation of Losice in 1942, many of the town's Jewish population fell victim either in ghettos or Treblinka. Rabbi Mordechai Harif, Rabbi Itzhak Raizenberg. Rabbi Yonatan Eibeszycz, Rabbi Yosefa Blaustein, Rabbi Arie Lajb Libszyc lived here. The date last known Jewish burial in the unlocked Orthodox cemetery located one km from the congregation, was September 9, 1939.
The isolated, urban cemetery located by water has no sign or marker. The cemetery site is reached by turning directly off a public road with access open to all with no wall or fence. Approximate size of the cemetery before World War II is 3.4 acres, but smaller now due to a park. No stones are visible. Stones that have been removed from the cemetery are in the town's storage facitily . Vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is a constant problem. Water drainage at the cemetery is a seasonal problem. The 17th century limestone and sandstone tombstones are finely smoothed and inscribed stones with traces of painting on their surfaces. Inscriptions on tombstones are in Hebrew and Polish, and one in Ladino may reflect the presence of Jews forced to flee Spain in the early 1500's.

In 2003, approximately 1500 matzevot were recovered from the former property of the late Dr. Wroblewski. In 1942, after the Nazis occupied Losice, the doctor's house was taken over to serve as the gendarmerie headquarters for the region. At this time, gravestones were removed from Losice's Jewish cemetery to be buried in the backyard that was used as a courtyard. In the early 1960s, the remainder of the gravestones were removed and the cemetery site converted into a park. No known mass graves. The present owner of the cemetery site is the municipality. Properties adjacent to the cemeterary are municipal offices. The cemetery property is now used for a park with smaller boundaries, due to commericial or industrial developement nearby. The cemetery is visited occassionally by private Jewish or non-Jewish visitors. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II and between 1945 and 1981. In 2003, the municipalities and interested Jews recovered matzevot. Within the limits of the cemetery are the remnants of a concrete foundation which was used for a bandstand after the cemetery was converted into a park in the mid-1960's. No care or maintenance is done and an unsupervised storage facility houses the gravestones.

Michal Witwicki, ul. Dembowskiego 12/53, 02-784 Warszawa, tel: 6418345 completed the initial survey on 08/15/1991.

Last Updated on Saturday, 13 June 2009 10:15