NAREWKA: Podlaskie Print

Coat of arms of NarewkaAlternate names: Narewka [Pol], Narevka [Rus, Yid], Naraŭka [Bel], Narewka Mała. Наревка [Rus]. נאראוקה מאלה [Yid], Нараўка [Belarusian]. 52°50' N, 23°45' E, 32 miles SE of Białystok, 23 miles E of Bielsk Podlaski. 1900 Jewish population: 1,004. Narewka is a village in Podlaskie Voivodeship, Hajnówka County, Gmina Narewka near the border with Belarus.  Primarily Jews populated Narewka, on the edge of Bialowieza Forest, before the outbreak of WW II. Their community had a mikvah, wooden synagogue, cheder, and cemetery. In 1939 the Russians occupied the town. During the Soviet occupation (1939 - 1941), the wooden synagogue was converted into a grain warehouse. In 1941, under Nazi occupation, some Jews were murdered outside the town in the forest near Zabłotczyzny with the balance murdered at Treblinka.There was also a large population of Belarusians and/or the Eastern Orthodox and Jews (743 in 1878). Jews first came into the area in 1690. Two Jewish cemeteries were in the vicinity, one here to the north of the marketplace (no longer existing) and one in the district of Jałówka that possibly may have been used. Photos. [June 2009]

ShtetLink

2007 directions, description, and photos: "52°50'N 23°45'E. Size: c. 2.5 acres. Number of matzevoth: >100 (plus support structures). Bagnowka.com: Narewka Gallery (photographed in 2006). The cemetery is surrounded by pine forest with varied vegetation (Image 1,4,5). Though one can enter on the east, at back (west) is the entrance with a broken masonry wall (Images 2,3). The majority of matzevoth are preserved in the central area - a hill that gently slopes toward the road (Image 6). Artillery fighting positions stretch out across the width of the cemetery at the slope just before the road; the cemetery is flanked by steep inclines on both sides (Image 7). The matzevoth are of varied styles (boulder, granite, obelisk), many legible and in situ (Images 1,5,8,9,10). The area is clear of litter, with the only visible threat being natural vegetation." as of May 2007.  [April 2009]

CEMETERY: Established in the 19th century, the 1.0 ha cemetery is located a few hundred meters behind the village on a small hill in a pine forest on the left side of the road to Olchówkę. 100 - 150 matzevot, mostly of stone, including a rare stone from the Caucasus. A section of the fence finished two weeks before the outbreak of WW II remains. Jews from Bialowieza also used this cemetery.  Arthur Cyrukow initiated work in the cemetery performed by prison convicts from Hajnowka under the supervision of the rabbinical commission for Warsaw cemeteries. The prisoners continue to maintain the site as do the children from the local primary school. In July 2006 the restaurant in the Jewish cemetery received an award from the Israeli Embassy. [June 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000122

Alternate name: Mala Narewja (Polish). Narewka is located in Bialystok, 52º50 23º45, 55 km from Bialystok. The cemetery is located in E part of town by the road to Guszczewina. 1990 population: 1,000-5,000 Narewka with no Jews.

Town: Urzad Gminy, ul. 22 Lipca, Narewka, Tel. 21.
Regional: Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, ul. Dojlidy Fabryczne 23, Bialystok, Tel. 41-23-32.
Interested: Ksiadz Marian Zelazko, ul. 22 Lipca 15, 17-220 Narewka, and, Leon Dudaryk, ul. 22 Lipca 1/1, 17-220 Narewka and Barry Cohen, 22 Glenhurst, London NW5 1PS, England.

The earliest known Jewish community existed in the 18th century. 1921 Jewish population (census) was 758. Rabbi Fajwel Grynberg lived here. The Orthodox, Conservative, and Progressive/Reform cemetery was established during the 19th century with last known Jewish burial 1942. The isolated forested hillside and crown of a hill has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all. A broken masonry wall with no gate surrounds. The approximate size of before WWII was 1.00 hectares; it is now 0.70 hectares. The decrease in size results from agriculture and reforestation. 20-100 gravestones, fewer than 20 are not in original positions with less than 25% toppled or broken, date of the mid-19th century. The limestone and slate rough stones or boulders have Hebrew inscriptions. Some tombstones have portraits on stones. The municipality owns property used for agriculture and storage. Properties adjacent are agricultural and forests. The cemetery was vandalized during and occasionally after World War II. Vegetation is the greatest threat.

Tomasz Wisniewski, ul. Bema 95/99, Bialystok, Tel. 212-46 completed survey on 20/09/1991. He visited the site in 1989. Interviewed were Ksiadz Marian Zelazko at ul. 22 Lipca 15, 17-220 Narewka; Leon Dudaryck at ul. 22 Lipca 1/1, 17-220 Narewka and Barry Cohen, London NW5 1PS, England.

NOTE: Wisniewski's book Jewish Bialystok contradicts his above report. He states on p. 93 that the Jewish community formed in the beginning of the 19th century and that the 1880 Jewish population of 778 was about 90% of the 899 population. The cemetery containing 230 gravestones, according to his book, is partially surrounded by a stone wall "that states that the cemetery was completed just two weeks before the outbreak of World War II--on August 15, 1939." (p. 94) He also notes that one gravestone is labradorite, a rare Caucasus stone; and one has flakes of gold leaf in this site near Bialowieza Forest. Neighboring towns included Hajnowka, Bialowieza, and Szereszewo.

A Holocaust memorial near the Christian cemetery on the N side of the railroad tracks has a plaque reading: "Common grave of 300 Jewish people murdered by the Nazis on the 5 August 1941. Honor to their memory." For more Jewish community information, contact Wiktor Kabac (former resident) at 421 Lakowa Street, Hajnowka, Poland or Nadzieja Sakowska at 55 Mickiewicza Street, Narewka, Poland. [October 2000]

UPDATE: Cemetery photos at http://www.kirkuty.xip.pl/narewka.html [January 2006]

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 March 2011 13:28