Alternate names: Tornow, Tarnawa Krośnieńska, Turnow, Torne/Tarne [Yid]. 51°55' N 15°09' E, 249.2 miles W of Warszawa. This city in SE Poland with 116,109 inhabitants (urban area 215 000 inhabitants) in 2008 in Lesser Poland Voivodeship since 1999, but from 1975 to 1998 the capital of the Tarnów Voivodeship and a major rail junction, located on the strategic east-west connection from Lviv to Kraków. [July 2009]
Jewish presence in Tarnow is first documented in a court dispute adjudicated in December 1445. A 1498 document mentions the mikvah and rent paid the city for stalls in the market. Their presence suggests a cemetery must have existed in the 15th century. In the mid-16th century, few Jewish families lived there permanently, presumably in the eastern part of the city along ul Zydowska. On May 18, 1670, Alexander Janusza Ostrogsko-Zasławskiego reconfirmed the first privileges issued to the Jews by Constantine Vasyl Ostrogskiego in 1581. Crises for the Jews and the city began in 1648 with the Chmielnicki pogroms and ended with a Swedish invasion in 1655. Owners of the city changed over time from the Ostrogski-Zasławskich family to the Zamoyskis, Koniecpolskis, Radziwills and others. A May 1631 document found in the Historical Regional Museum in Tarnow shows the relationship between the city and the Jews, between Zachariah Lazarowicz and his brother Solomon and the officials enabling their use of the adjoining Podwizdow village cemetery next to a farm for which they paid tax of 8 pieces of gold annually. For the land in the corner of the cemetery, the Jews also paid an annual rent. In 1665, Tarnów was ruined financially when a fire consumed the burghers' houses and the oldest synagogue in the city. In May 1670, Prince Alexander of Janusz Ostrogskiego reconfirmed all the privileges given to the Jews by Prince Constantine Vasyl. A February 1676 statement issued jointly by the city and Stanisław Koniecpolski, Count of Tarnowski, reconfirmed the former Jewish privileges when about 200 Jews lived there. As early as 1772, when Tarnow was within the borders of Austria, Joseph II issued an August 1784 decree requiring transfer of cemeteries throughout Austria to at least 1 km from the central city. This Jewish cemetery was outside the limit and could remain in situ unlike those belonging to the Tarnow churches. In 1775, the fence of the farm neighboring the Jewish cemetery was moved to impede the Jew's customary access, but the City Council required that fence be returned to original location. The Jews still paid rent for that cemetery since the city was entitled to four florens annual rent in 1787 with burial fees apparently dependent on family wealth. Lazara Maschlera paid 5,000 zlotys. Wolf Kohane paid thousands for the funeral of his wife while his funeral cost his heir 2,002 gold. The funeral of Hudes, wife of Israel, cost 1,500. Finally, the council decided on two maximums: 1,000 kroners for a simple grave in the cemetery and more for a tomb site of one's choice or in a family tomb. A maximum of four hundred crowns yielded a monument one-meter wide while larger sizes required an additional fee. For the resting place and monument of Chana Mindli Abedam the huge sum of 20,000 crowns was paid. The poor, however, were exempt from payment. Under the Polish Republic, funeral fees were fixed although in the 1820s and 1830s, the maximum fee, an unimaginable 5,000 zlotys, was more than four times higher than that paid in Warsaw. At the end of the 19th century, protests about Jewish burial practice began such as the depth of the graves, tombstones erected forty-eight hours from the time of death, and how to transport the deceased to the cemetery, often only in a shroud. In June 1884, Austrian authorities issued a requirement for transporting the bodies to the cemetery regardless of the distance. Penalties for failure to comply were approximately one hundred gold or a two-week detention. 19th and 20th centuries enlightened thought and assimilation meant the Tarnów Jews' funeral processions included funeral wreaths then donated to charitable associations. During WWI, Tarnów was on the Eastern Front, especially from December 1914. These Jews came under six years of Russian control after November 1914. In January 1915, the city commander, Lieutenant Markov, took fourteen hostages suspected as Austrian sympathizers. In mid-February, the Russians found that the Jewish cemetery was next to the communications connection. Again, the Jews were accused of collaboration with the enemy translating to thirty hostages sent into the depths of Russia. In free Poland, the Jews became active in the municipal governance. An act of 5 April 1928 included financial resources to maintain the cemetery. In the 1930- I 1 budget, maintenance of the cemetery was established at 16 513, 15 gold with revenue estimated at about forty thousand. On the afternoon of September 17, 1939, German occupation began. On September 20, Ernst Kundt required Jews wear a white band with a Mogen David. Forced labor began for every Jew from 14 to 60 years of age. A ban on the use of public transportation was placed. Their homes were seized. In November 1939, the Nazis burned all synagogues. In Summer 1940, the Jews were held on the market and watched as their houses were looted. On June 14, 1940, first transport of Polish prisoners to Auschwitz began. Until the final defeat of the Jewish community in Tarnow, these Jews tried to maintain normal burials of people, who died or were murdered during 1940-1941. The first "aktion" was in June 1942. At the market and in the nearby forest Gory Zbylitowskiej several thousand were murdered. At the cemetery were mass murders of about 3,000 buried in mass graves. Belzec was the fate of others after 1942. The final extermination of Tarnow Jews occurred on September 2-3, 1943. All found hiding were shot on the spot and others held in slave labor. In November 1943, all remaining Jews in Tarnów were transported to the Szebniach Jaslo camp. In February 1944, Tarnów was Judenrein. Only two survived with the death of one under mysterious circumstances shortly after the war. [July 2009]
US Commission No. POCE00002: The US Commission is not finished rechecking this file. 
Leszek Hondo, ul. Skowronkow 9 m. 126, 33-100 Tarnow Poland teaches at the University of Krakow. He knows both Hebrew and Yiddish and writes down information on Jewish cemeteries (I was told that he is the best researcher of Jewish things in Tarnow). He has an index of the entire Krakow Jewish Cemetery on his computer, as well as a number of others from Galicia (e.g., Bochnia). He has unorganized information on about 80% of the between 5000 and 8000 graves in Tarnow and plans to do all that are readable (what a beautiful cemetery). He does not think he will get around to putting it on computer for another year or two, though, because he is writing a book on the Krakow Cemetery first. He translates entire inscriptions and has pictures of most of the graves. Source: Eric Adler [date?]
On ul. Spitalna (between ui. Sloneczna and ul. Nowodabrowska, the cemetery dates from 1734 with about 3,000 stones remaining. Source: Miriam Weiner.
BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe . New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 66-67
Tarnow, ulica Szpitalna, 3,000 tombstones. The oldest 1734. Tombs of Tzaddik Arie Halberstam (died 1930) and writer Mordechaj Brandstaetter (died 1928). [source?]
|Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 11:57|