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Alternate names: Siemiatycze [Pol], Semyatitche, סעמיאטיטש [Yid], Semiatyche, Семятыче [Rus], Сямятычы [Belarussian], Semyatitcha, Semyatichi, Semyatitsh, Semyatich. 52°27' N, 22°53' E, 48 miles SSW of Białystok, 42 miles NW of Brest-Litovsk, 32 miles NE of Siedlce. 1900 Jewish population: about 3,600. Yizkors: Kehilat Semiatycze (Tel Aviv, 1965); Bóżnice Białostocczyzny (Białystok, 1992); Di megile fun mayn lebn (, ). Normal 0 Most Jews came to the Podlasie from western European countries to escape persecution. A 1690 archival document mentions complaints from Siemiatyckich townspeople about the Jewish kahału in Siemiatyce taking over the greater part of their assets and paying no taxes while having the same rights and privileges as other townspeople. Still, Jewish trade flourished in the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter without sewage drainage. Secured before the case is passed by pięterka sack on his head impurity. Once on ul Piłsudskiego, Jewish hucksters spread their wares and Jewish shopkeepers waited on customers. Joseph Charyton painted there including pen and ink with some of his canvases in the gallery in the Siemiatyczach Regional Museum. Princess Anna Jabłonowską established the synagogue, now Center of Culture. Of 8,138 inhabitants before WWII, 4303 [52.9%] were Jewish. The concept of Zionism originated here. [July 2009]

2007 directions, description, and photos: "What remains of the Jewish Cemetery in Siemiatycze is a fine brick wall with wrought-iron gates  Adjoining this gate is a low concrete wall that delineates the front boundary of the cemetery. A wire fence marks the other three sides, but is sporadically broken in a number of places. The back boundary has an inexpensive chain link fence with one broken area. A number of well-worn paths are evident throughout the cemetery, with some litter at the back of the cemetery grounds. Immediately on entering the gates, the visitor will find a memorial surrounded by a short wrought-iron fence with gate (Image 2). Within this fence are found the remaining 15 matzevoth set into a concrete base (Image 3). Recently one matzevah and a dozen-plus fragments have been placed beside this concrete floor, having presumably been collected from structures within the city (see images at gallery and Images 4-6). Excluding the memorial area, the cemetery is covered in vegetation (Image 7). The only threat appears to be occasional litter." [April 2009]

OLD AND NEW CEMETERIES: The old Jewish cemetery began in 1758. When fire consumed the city, Princess Anna Jabłonowska decided to change the city layout. When the new market with Sapieha palace created a broad avenue, the route to the cemetery became a problem. Representatives of the Jewish community tearfully agreed to move the cemetery to the other side of the Kamionki river after the  Princess agreed to move the remains and the gravestones. Jews resisted but finally capitulated. The cemetery was planted on both sides with trees along an avenue with preserved monuments from the old cemetery on either side. Additional burial were banned so the Jewish community denounced Kardyszewicz, who negotiated the arrangement, as a traitor and sentenced him to buried outside the cemetery grounds. Kardyszewicz soon died without progeny in ignominious burial. To compensate for the sacrilege, Princess built a beautiful and big new synagogue. WWII completely destroyed the new cemetery that retains a stonewall and gate with the four Mogen David enclosing the tiny garden cemetery. At the entrance is a plaque with the inscription: "Here are buried innocent victims murdered by the Nazi monsters in 1942 (.....)70 persons. Among them, Ephraim Kejles, Abram [?], Mojesta Leo and others. Remaining alive in deep sorrow and conducted the exhumations, Joshka Kajles ". Photos. [July 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000135

Alternate Yiddish name: Siemiatitz and Semyatitch. Siemiatycze is located in Bialystok, at 52º27 22º53, 80 km from Bialystok [99 km S]. The cemetery is located at Kosciuszki St. in S part of the town. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with no Jews [14,992 in 1993].

  • Town: Urzad Miasta i Gminy, Legionow Pilsudskiego 3, burmistr 55-25-25.
  • Regional: Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabyttkow, Dojlidy Fabryczne 23, Bialystok, Tel. 41-23-32.

The earliest known Jewish community was 17th century. 1921 Jewish population was 3718. Rabbi Em Kadeszowicz, Rabbi Chaim Baruch Gersztein, M. Marach, Rabbi Baruch, and Mordechai Lipszyc lived here. The cemetery was established in 18th century with last known Orthodox, Conservative, or Progressive/Reform Jewish burial in 1946. Surrounding villages up to 15 km away also used the isolated suburban flat land with a Polish sign mentioning Jews and the Holocaust. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with a broken masonry wall and locking gate. Before World War II, the cemetery occupied 3.0 hectares; now 2.5 hectares, size decrease results from new roads or highways, housing development, and commercial or industrial development. There is only one 1970s granite and iron flat gravestone with carved relief decoration and iron decorations or lettering. The inscription is in Hebrew and Polish. The cemetery contains a memorial monument to Holocaust victims. The cemetery also contains marked mass graves. Municipality owns property used for Jewish cemetery. Properties adjacent are commercial, agricultural, and residential. Occasionally, private visitors and local residents stop. It was vandalized during World War II but not since. During the 1960's, local authorities fixed the wall and gate. Individuals occasionally clear or clean.

Tomasz Wisniewski, ul. Bema 95/99, Bialystok, Tel. 212-46 completed survey in 9/91. Miroslaw Leszczak (no longer living) of Siemiatycze was interviewed.

NOTE: In his 1998 book Jewish Bialystok, Wisniewski contradicts the above report on p. 97 where he states that the Jewish community dates from as "early as 1583, and kahal are mentioned as far back as 1653." The 1765 Jewish population was 1,105 while the 1897 Jewish census registered 4,636 Jews, about 75%. The pre-WWII population was 4,000. The Holocaust memorial in the cemetery mentions 3 of the 73 murdered Jews: Efroim Kejles, Abram Ekstrakt, and Mejta Lew. No pre-WWII gravestones exist in the cemetery but some are found in the foundations of a house across the street from the cemetery and on Kosciuzki Street as a stair tread of a wood building between the gmina (district) office and the high school about 1 km from the cemetery. (See photo on p. 99.) Local historian is Jerzy Nowicki at 6 Plac Wyzwolenia-Rynek, tel. 552656 or 556131. He has tourist guides and brochures available in his newspaper office (Glos Siemiatycz.) [October 2000]

For your information a book listing every tombtone in the Zawiercie cemetery will be published shortly. Also, I am involved in a project to publish a book on the old Jewish cemetery in Bedzin which dates back to 1808. Anyone interested in this book, please contact me. Jeffrey Cymbler [November 2000 on JewishGen Digest]

  • Daab, Alezandra, Macewy Bedzinskie [Bedzin Jewish Tombstones]. Katowice: Urzad Miejski w Bedzinie, 1993.
  • Derus, Malgorzata and Dariusz Walerjanski, "Cmentarze zydowskie w wojewosdstwie katowickim [Jewish Cemeteries in the Province of Katowice]," in Cmentarze zydowskie. Wroclaw: Towarzystwo Przyjacol Polonistyki Wroclawskiej, 1995, pp. 155-165.
  • Rozmus, Dariusz, Cmentarze Zydowskie Ziemi Olkusziej [The Jewish Cemeteries in the Olkusz Region]. Krakow: Oficyna Cracovia, 1999.
  • Rozmus, Dariusz, "Nowe Dane Dotyczace Cmentarzy Zydowskich w Dawnym Powiecie Olkuskim w Granicach Administracyjnch do 1975 r [New Data on Jewish Cemeteries in the Former County of Olkusz Within the Administrative Boundaries Up to 1975]," in Ochrona Zabytkow 1999 Nr. 1, pp. 68-72.
  • Rozmus, Dariusz, "Slady Polichromii na Nagrobkach z Obszaru Dawnego Powiatu Olkuskiego [Treces of Polychromy on Jewish Gravestones in the Former County of Olkusz]," in Ochrona Zabytkow 2000 Nr. 1, pp. 85-92.
  • Walerjanski, Dariusz, "Cmentarze Zydowskie w Wojewodztwie Katowickim - Historia, Stan Zachowania, Problemy Ochrony [Jewish Cemeteries in the Katowice Voivodship - History, State Preservation, Protection Problems]," in Ochrona Zabytkow 1998, no. 3, pp. 246-257.

For your information a book listing every tombtone in the Zawiercie cemetery will be published shortly. Also, I am involved in a project to publish a book on the old Jewish cemetery in Bedzin which dates back to 1808. Anyone interested in this book, please contact me. Jeffrey Cymbler [November 2000 on JewishGen Digest]

BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 78


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