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Coat of arms of Pruszków Alternate names: Pruszków [Pol], Prushkov, פּרושקוב [Yid], Prushkuv, Прушкув [Rus]. 52°10' N, 20°50' E, 9 miles SW of Warszawa. Jewish population: 971 (in 1921). Yizkor: Sefer Pruszkow, Nadzin ve-ha-seviva, (Tel Aviv, 1967). Słownik Geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego (1880-1902), IX, p. 105: "Pruszków" #1. This town in central Poland with a population of 54,893 in 2004 in the Masovian Voivodeship since 1999 was previously in Warszawa Voivodeship (1975-1998) and the capital of Pruszków powiat. The city had a large Jewish population before WWII. On January 31, 194, about 3,000 deportees, mostly from Pruszków, arrived at Warsaw Ghetto. Normal 0 Jewish settlement in Pruszkow dates from about 1880 when the old village began to industrialize. The Jewish community was organized legally in 1904 and purchased land for the synagogue and cemetery with donations by Mordechaj Gutowicz and factory owner Jacob Teichfeld. Most of the Jews worked as craftsmen or tradesmen. Some owned factories where many of the Jews worked. Chassids from Skierniewice lived here. After WWI, Zionism was strong here. In 1921, 971 Jews and in 1931, 1,288 (5.5%) lived in the city. In the interwar period, the Jews suffered growing anti-Semitism with economic boycotts, physical attacks, and broken windows. Nazi troops occupied September 8, 1939 and set up the ghetto in November 1940 that also included Jews from surrounding localities including Nadarzyna and Piastowe. Living conditions were horrid, high density, very poor sanitary conditions that led to epidemics with high mortality, and almost daily executions. Some Jews tried to live a normal life with a ghetto school, library and drama club. Liquidation of the ghetto occurred on January 30, 1941 when the Jews were sent to the railway workshops, stripped naked, and searched for valuables. Trains transported them to the ghetto in Warsaw from whence to Treblinka. In the town, only 180 Jews were left for slave labor. Few survived  In Pruszkowa, those who gave their aid Jewish neighbors despite the threat of death, after the war, received several "the Righteous among the Nations" medals. [June 2009]

CEMETERY: Located at the end of ul. Lipowej and ul. Bazaltowej since 1904 on the farm purchased from Hedwig and Anthony Potulickich. The west side of the cemetery still bears traces of WWI German fire from October 1914.The cemetery had a tahara. A caretaker home was provided in the property for the caretaker-gravedigger-stable-keeper. In 1939, the caretaker was Wawrzyniec Olesiński, who took over for his father. The tahara stone table remains as do the wells next to the gate. In summer 1940, several Jewish Polish soldiers were buried in the cemetery, killed during the September campaign and previously buried in the graves in the field. Only three tombstones bear a later date than 1939, two of which are Holocaust memorials. During WWII, the cemetery has suffered relatively little damage. The Nazi occupiers did not use matzevot for building materials or road and pavement construction. Only the wall was damaged on the north side where Germany tested a small heavy arms. Today, in that wall only wire mesh fencing separates the cemetery from the neighboring garden. For about 3 meters, no graves exist. The first decade post-war did more damage than WWII. Almost all the gravestones were sandstone until the 1930s when marble was used. The marble gravestones were stolen and later found in the Catholic cemetery. One of the masons involved in the theft was taken to court. Notable was the ohel of Rabbi Lewenberg who died in 1934, a small building resembling a chapel, that survived in the 1950s until stolen. Only the brick foundations remain. Despite the thievery, neglect, and destruction, many matzevot remain as does the restored tahara. The site is fenced with a gate that locks. Esslingen in the region of Württemberg Badeniu partnered with Pruszkow since 1995 for restoration led by two German students from vocational schools: Philipp-Matthaus-Hahnh-Schule Nuertingen and the Friedrich-Ebert-Schule from Esslingen. The initiative came from the district executive board of the Federation of Youth Organizations KJR (Kreisjugendring) in Esslingen. Cooperation took place in the non-governmental organization of the Polish-German Youth Cooperative. Appropriation to fund the project came from three sources: PNWM, KRJ, and the City of Esslingen Pruszkow. For thirteen years, from 1995 to 2007, usually in May, a group of ten students and four teachers every year come to Pruszkowa for two weeks. The project director from the beginning was the teacher of religion, Pastor Gerhard Voss, a member of the board of KJR Esslingen. Construction director is Peter Hamann, teacher professional subjects in Nürtingen.  The dedication ceremony and German farewell took place on June 25, 2007 when Pastor Gerhard Voss provided the keys to the building to the Pruszkow mayor. Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich attended. The previously unmarked grave of Jewish soldiers, the victims of September '39, was unveiled that day. A few weeks later, at the end of August 2007, a group from RE'UT school in Jerusalem arrived. The Israelis worked for two days, removing all the shrubs covering gravestones, removing paint graffiti, and made photographic documentation of some of the inscriptions. Group leader, Dr. Arie Geiger, stated that all the tombstones pruszkowski will be in an online database. Despite the history of the cemetery and a relatively small number of members buried at the Jewish Community in Pruszkow, the gravestones are diverse in architectural forms and inscription. Funds for conservation work, especially restoration of the wall and the inventory of tombstones, are needed. Mr. Jan P Wińczuk holds the key to the cemetery gates. (Tel. 022 758 63 66). [June 2009]

BOOK in Polish: Marian Skwary, The Jews Pruszkowscy - Six Decades of Destruction Closed describes the history, war crimes, and fate of the Jews of Pruszkow. The book can be purchased in the Public Library in Pruszkow. VideoPhotos. [June 2009]

Pruszkow is located in Mazowieckie voiwodship at 2048E 5120N, 17 km from Warsaw. 2005 town population is 53,000. The cemetery is located at the outskirts of the city, at the corner of Lipowa street and Bazaltowa street, 2 km away from the railway station in Pruszkow. Access to this area is closed by an old brick wall with a locking gate. A pre-burial house is now in course of renovation, sponsored by the city authorities. Approximately 50 - 60 gravestones with Hebrew and Polish inscriptions, all kept in quite good condition are hidden in bushes and trees. Some gravestones commemorate victims of the WW II. Properties adjacent are residential.Krzysztof Bielawski This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it from Warsaw completed this survey on September 20, 2005. He visited the cemetery on September 11, 2005. [September 2005]

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 June 2009 15:18
 
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