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Coat of arms of RykiAlternate names: Ryki [Pol, Рыки, Rus], Riki, ריקי [Yid], Rika, Rike. 51°38' N, 21°56' E, 40 miles SSW of Siedlce, 38 miles NW of Lublin, 22 miles SE of Garwolin. 1900 Jewish population: 1,573. Yizkors: Yisker-bukh tsum fareybikn dem ondenk fun der khorev-gevorener yidisher kehile Ryki (Tel Aviv, 1973). and 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). Ryki is a town in eastern Poland on the main road between Warsaw and Lublin with 9,767 inhabitants in 2007). In Lublin Voivodeship since 1999, Ryki is the capital of Ryki powiat. Ryki also is the seat of Ryki gmina, a unit of territorial administration and local government. During the German occupation in WWII, the Jewish community of Ryki, about 70% of the town's population, perished in the Holocaust. On May 8 a train left Ryki ghetto for Sobibor.  Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, considered the Father of the Nuclear Navy, lived in Ryki. Born in 1900 in Maków Mazowiecki, the young Rickover emigrated with his family to the United States in 1905.Jewish history.  [June 2009]

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Some anecdotal evidence suggests that the Jews arrived in Ryki before 1426, but the first documentation mentions them in 1426. They definitely lived there in 1789 with homes and a brick store "in the Jewish market". Jewish population: 1834-476 of 1,268 residents; 1921, 2,419 (68.5%), and 1939, about 3,000. Many local Jews were Chassidim. When the Ryki ghetto was liquidated, the Jews were sent to Sobibor and Treblinka when in May 1942, Dęblin SS surrounded the ghetto with the police. The Jews were allowed to bring 10 kg of food and personal belongings. The elderly and ill were shot right there. Jews took their money and valuables on the morning of May 7 to Dęblin-around 15 km away under German escort. Those who could not keep up were shot and their bodies left by the road. At the railway station in Dęblin, women with children were separated from the men. Two young people were sent to the labor camp in Deblin at the airport. The rest of the Jews with those from Dęblin (about 3,000), were sent in freight wagons to Sobibor. After liberation, a few survivors returned to the city. Their neighbors murdered a number of these Jews. The others fled. The synagogue still stands at the Old Market. [June 2009]

CEMETERY: Established on the present ul. Piaskowej about 500 meters east of the Main Square behind Buks' pond western bank at the end of the 18th century, the trapezoidal 0.9 ha was surrounded by barbed wire on wooden posts before WWII. The locking gates were in the NE and SE corners. Gravestones were set in rows and faced east. A 1869 mention of a "house at the cemetery" possibly that was an ohel of one of the rabbis. On the other side of the cemetery was a little house in which the caretaker lived. Visitors paid the caretaker a small fee to enter. The neighboring village called Stężycy also used this cemetery. The Nazis took the gravestones for sidewalks. Locals stole the remaining matzevot afterward for construction work or for grinding wheels. The cemetery also was used as a source of sand until local authorities intervened. Legend has it that the large number of car accidents in the vicinity result from a curse for using cemetery land to build roads. Currently, no matzevot are visible although a number are dispersed throughout the town.  A mound of potatoes or silo contains some stolen gravestones. In 2003, one from 1894, that of Avigdor Levi ben Szimon, was found in good condition with traces of the polychrome although buried in the ground for many years. Since 1984, cemetery restoration was "planned" for a new gate on three sides, a dry moat, hedge, low walls of broken stone and an entrance from ul Piaskow with a square. On the main axis of the entrance was to be a Holocaust memorial - a boulder on a concrete pedestal. A stone staircase would lead symbolically reconstituted to the area. Gravestones were to be set in one place on a concrete foundation with new lawn and the wild foliage removed. This plan never came to fruition so today the cemetery is the unofficial site of motorcycle races. Even the informational signs are gone. The book "History - Culture - Traditions Rykach the Jews" can be purchased from the publisher, Miejsko-Gminnym Centrum Kultury.  PhotosNo trace is left., butMr. Dabrowski, who lives on Piaskowa St, has 6 matzevot. photos. [June 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000639

Ryki is in Lublin region at 51º38' 21º56'; 60 km from Lublin. The cemetery is about 500 meters E of center, behind and by the pond on Piaskowa Street. Present population is 5000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town official: Urzod Mirsto i Gminy.
  • Regional: Wojewodski Konserwator Zabytkow Lublin., ul Archidiokonska 4, tel. 259-37.

The earliest known Jewish community is 19th century. 1921 Jewish population was 2419. (68.5%) The Jewish cemetery was established in the 4th quarter of the 18th century with last known Hasidic burial 1945. The village of Stezyca (15 km away) also used the cemetery. The isolated suburban hillside by water has no signs or markers. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no walls, fence, or gate. The approximate 0.9 ha size of the cemetery has not changed since WWII. No stones are visible. 6 stones are in the private collection of Mr. Dabrowski on Piaskowa Street. The oldest gravestone, sandstone, flat with carved relief decorations, is ca. 1870. The inscriptions are in Hebrew. The cemetery contains unmarked mass graves. Municipality owns site used for g. barrews [sic]. Private visitors visit the cemetery rarely. The cemetery has not been vandalized in the last ten years. There is no maintenance. No structures.

Pawel Sygowski, ul Kalinowsznyzno 64/59, 20-20 Lublin. Tel. 77-20-78 completed survey in October 1993 after a visit to the site in 1992 and using ? [legible].

Last Updated on Friday, 03 July 2009 22:40
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