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Alternate names: Mielnik [Pol], Melnik, מילניק [Yid], Мельник. [Rus]. 52°20' N, 23°03' E, 32 miles S of Bielsk Podlaski, 11 miles SE of Siemiatycze on the Bug River. Mielnik is a village in Siemiatycze powiat, Podlaskie Voivodeship in NE Poland close to the border with Belarus and is the seat of the administrative district called Gmina Mielnik, 88 km (55 mi) S of the regional capital Białystok with a population of 980. Jews lived here as early as 1533 but  organized the kahal only in the 17th century. The Jewish community here never was large enough, unlike the other cities in Poland, to constitute the majority of the population. Jewish population: 1857 - 95; 1,878 - 460. Immmigration to America from 1900 to 1920 reduced the JEwish population. 1921 Census: 239 Jews and in 1937, 180 Jews. The 1920 synagogue at ul. Brzeskiej remains, first as a grain store and now as a bakery. The Jewish Cemetery is north of the town on the road to Adamow. The cemetery is destroyed. photos. photos. [June 2009]

ShtetLink: 2007 description, directions, and photos. "52°20'N 23°03'E, Size: .5 acre. Number of matzevoth: >10 (4 with inscriptions, 1 matzevah overturned, 1 base, sarcophagus. Bagnowka.com: Mielnik Gallery (photographed in 1989) Most of the matzevoth were removed during World War II to pave roads; those remaining have steadily been disappearing. ... The cemetery is now covered with thin, young woods merging with thicker pine and evergreen forest (Images 1,4,5). There is some garbage dumped in the area and the greatest danger is from the encroaching development of the nearby chalk factory. The few remaining tombstones are not easy to locate, having fallen. Locating the cover of a sarcophagus, which rests on its side can aid in finding the remaining tombstones, which are nearby (Images 6,7). The tombstone inscriptions are worn or moss-covered. (Images 8-12)" As of May 2007 [April 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000120

Mielnik is located in Bialystok, 52º20 23º03, 23 km from Siemiatycz on the Bug River. The cemetery is located close to the road to Metn in the N part of town. Present population is 3,150 without Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Gminy, Naczelnik; Tel. 17.
  • Regional: Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, ul. Dojlidy Fabryczne 23, Bialystok, Tel. 41-23-32.
  • Interested: Irena Lobanowska, Szkola Podstawowa, Mielnik.

The earliest known Jewish community was 1533 but really became established in mid-18th century. Living here were Jankiel Chaim Turek and Chaim Kaplan. The Orthodox, Conservative, and Progressive/Reform cemetery was established at the beginning of the 19th century with last known Jewish burial in 1939. Surrounding villages (up to 15 km away) also used the cemetery. The isolated suburban flat hillside has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with a broken masonry wall without gate. The approximate size of the cemetery before WWII was 1.00 hectares; it is now 0.60 hectares. The decrease in size is a result of new roads, commercial or industrial development, and agriculture. 20 and 100 gravestones, fewer than 20 of the stones not in their original location with less than 25% of the stones broken or toppled, date from the mid-19th century. The granite, limestone, and slate rough stones, flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, or flat stones with carved relief decoration have Hebrew inscriptions. Some have traces of painting on their surfaces. The municipality owns the cemetery property used for waste dump. Properties adjacent are commercial or industrial and agricultural. Private visitors stop rarely. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II, and occasionally thereafter. No maintenance or care, nor has there been restoration.

Tomasz Wisniewski, ul. Bema 95/99, Bialystok, Tel. 212-46 completed survey on 08/09/1991. Documentation: Dokumentacja Ewidencyina Cmetarza. T. Wisniewski, A. Romaniuk; I. Plichta, (1990). Manuscript. Tomasz Wisniewski visited the site in 1988 and again in 1990.

Wisniewski contradicts his report above in his 1998 book, Guide to Jewish Bialystok in which he states that the Jewish community subject to the Siemiatycze kahal probably may have formed about 1689 or 1694. The 1878 Jewish population was 460 out of 1,147. The Pre-WWII Jewish population was about 200. 50 gravestones remain in the cemetery on Metna Road. page 90-91 [October 2000]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 10:59
 
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