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SOBIENIE JEZIORY: Mazowieckie PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Sobienie Jeziory [Pol], Собене-Езёры [Rus], סוביינייה יאזיורי [Yid], Sobin. 51°56' N, 21°19' E, 26 miles SSE of Warszawa, 14 miles W of Garwolin, 14 miles S of Otwock. 1900 Jewish population: about 1,000. This village in Otwock powiat had a population of 700 is the seat of Gmina Sobienie Jesiorty. From 1975 to 1998, the village was in Siedlce Voivodeship. The gmina contains the villages of Dziecinów, Gusin, Karczunek, Nowy Zambrzyków, Piwonin, Przydawki, Radwanków Królewski, Radwanków Szlachecki, Sewerynów, Siedzów, Sobienie Biskupie, Sobienie-Jeziory, Sobienie Kiełczewskie Drugie, Sobienie Kiełczewskie Pierwsze, Sobienie Szlacheckie, Stary Zambrzyków, Szymanowice Duże, Szymanowice Małe, Śniadków Dolny, Śniadków Górny, Śniadków Górny A, Warszawice, Warszówka, Wysoczyn and Zuzanów.[July 2009]

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In Sobienie Jeziory, a large, sleepy market with the church and old buildings, half the population before WWII was Jewish. Jews were brought here by the village owner to revitalize the village economy. By the 19th century, the Jewish community had a school, synagogue, and cemetery. The financial situation of most Jews, especially in the early twentieth century, was very difficult. About 1,700 Jews living there were 76.2% of all residents when the Germans surrounded the town swelling in the ghetto to 2,000 or 3,000 with those brought from other locations. All Jews were taken to the market and robbed of money and valuables. The police said that they going to be sent to the Ukraine as agricultural slave labor, a complete fabrication that many believed. At the Pilawa train station, the police shot the elderly, sick, and small children. The rest were loaded on cars and deported to the Treblinka. After liquidation of the ghetto on October 2, 1942, the Nazis found a couple and a two year-old boy in the bath that they shot in cold blood. The Nazis burned the synagogue and the majority of houses in the ghetto. [July 2009]

CEMETERY: The 1.1-hectare cemetery is located in the woods about three hundred meters for the Catholic cemetery located by the road to Piwonin. The gravestones were stolen by the Nazis to pave the square around the rectory/ presbytery then occupied by the Gestapo. The war ended, but the gravestones remain. For several years, people took them in horse carts and cars until 2003, when a new pastor, Father Roman Karwacki, decided the transfer the matzevot to the Jewish cemetery with the approval of the parishioners. Their hard work with the support of municipalities and Ochotniczej Straży Pożarnej extracted hundreds of gravestones and transported them to the cemetery. On the 61st anniversary of the Holocaust, a cemetery was held during which the Polish Chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich, thanked residents for their initiative. In March 2009, the next batch of matzevot were transported to the cemetery, since the war paving private property right beside the church thanks to a new co-owner of the building and the Jewish Community in Warsaw. The town retains isolated gravestones, which have not been extricated from the wall surrounding the church. Preparations are ongoing to fence and restore the cemetery and construct a monument from recovered gravestones, mostly traditional sandstone matzevot with polychrome. In the woods is a single granite stone with Hebrew inscription remains. Dr. Emunah Nachman-Gafni created an inventory of the gravestones with a database of photographs and translations. The cemetery also served surrounding communities up to 20 cm away. Some were patients in Otwock sanatoriums. Still, anti-Semitic graffiti appears among the litter of beer cans and liquor bottles. Vandalism to gravestones also still occurs. About 400 gravestones made of granite and sandstone with typical Jewish sepulchral art, polychrome, and inscriptions in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish. To reach the cemetery, from the market go to the road that leads to the forest. The gravestones are on the right side about fifty yards from the road.  photos. gravestone photos. videophotos. [July 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000580

Sobienie Jeziory is located in Siedlechie Province, 29 km from Garwolin and 55 km from Warsaw at 21 19/51 56. The cemetery is located in "Sniadkow Gorny." Present town population is 1,000-5,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Gminy, Sobienie Jerziory, tel. 791590.
  • Regional: Wojwodzki Konserwator Zabytkow Siedlce, ul. Zbrojna 3, tel. No. 394-58.

The cemetery is open with no caretaker. 1921 Jewish population was 1439. The isolated rural/agricultural flat land has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall, fence, or gate. The size today and before WWII was 1.08 hectare. 1-20 visible stones, none in original location with less than 25% toppled or broken, date from the 19th century. Removed stones are at the parish church courtyard in Sobienie Jerziory. The granite and sandstone rough stones/boulders and finely smoothed and inscribed stones have Yiddish inscriptions. No known mass graves. Municipality owns property used for Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are agricultural. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. No structures or care. Weather erosion and vegetation are moderate threats. Vegetation is a constant problem, disturbing stones.

Cezary Ostas, Siedlce, ul. Pomorska 1/68, tel. 290-95 visited the site and completed survey on 24 Aug 1992.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2009 16:26
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