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Coat of arms of Tomaszów MazowieckiAlternate names: Tomaszów Mazowiecki [Pol], Томашув-Мазовецки [Rus], טומאשוב מאזובייצקי [Yid], Tomashov Khadash, Tomashov Pyetirkov, Tomashov Ravski, Tomashuv Mazovyetsk, Tomashuv Mazovyetski, Tomaszów Piotrków, Tomaszów Rawski, Tomaszów. 51°32' N, 20°01' E, 28 miles ESE of Łódź, 17 miles ENE of Piotrków Trybunalski. Jewish population: 11,310 (in 1931). This town in central Poland with 67,159 inhabitants in 2004 in the Łódź Voivodeship since 1999 was previously part of Piotrków Trybunalski Voivodeship (1975-1998).  The town is situated on the banks of three rivers-Pilica, Wolbórka and Czarna Bielina, near the Zalew Sulejowski reservoir and at the edge of the Puszcza Spalska wilderness area. [July 2009]

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Tomaszów Mazowiecki had about 13,000 Jews just before WWII. The city owes its boom since 1815 to Count Antonie Ostrowskie, author of a book about gender equality. His friend Jakow Steinman with other Jews, who had immigrated to Germany, brought capital investments that resulted in the textile industry. Tomaszow Chassids called it "Tejma Szaw" (unclean), because the Jews worked in factories on Saturday. In 1831, the kahal in Tomaszów Mazowiecki became independent and built a beautiful synagogue. They also had a beit midrash, 17 Chasidic houses of prayer (stiblach), a number of philanthropic associations, and after 1920, a Polish-Hebrew gymnasium. In autumn 1939, the Nazis burned the synagogue and beit midrash. A ghetto created in December 1940 eventually housed 16,000 Jews. Many sent to labor camps or killed here. In 1942, mass deportations to Treblinka commenced. The last Jews of the ghetto were sent to Starachowice in May and September 1943. [July 2009]

CEMETERY: Founded in 1831 on almost 3-hectares given to the Jews by Count Ostrowski, the main entrance is on ul Grota-Roweckiego. During WWII, the cemetery was partially destroyed by the Germans. The Jewish ghetto police buried the dead and murdered Jewish adults and children murdered by the police for trying to escape the ghetto in search of food here without Jewish rites or family in attendance. The road to the cemetery had bloodstains. They just emptied the bodies into mass graves with victims of typhus and torture. Later, the Nazis stole gravestones to pave the streets. In 1999, the cemetery still was neglected, clogged with dense vegetation and trees although about 1,002 matzevot remain. A few broken tree trunk gravestones symbolizing life tragically interruptedcan be found. That year, on ul Mościckiego, gravestones were found. Most inscriptions are in Hebrew with quite varied symbolism including Mogen David, candles, boxes, Cohanim blessing hands, bowls, books, lions, and beautifully executed crowns. At the main gate, the recovered gravestones are placed randomly. At the beginning of the main avenue a symbolic tomb was built commemorating Jews tortured to death by the Nazis. Beside it is the mass grave of twenty-one killed by the German in 1943 on Purim Several matzevot on the right side of the main avenue are in the women's section. The ruined ohel of Jacob ben Abraham Elijah Tomaszow (d 27 May 1888) and head of the bet din in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. In the west portion without dense scrub, only one gravestone remains. A detailed inventory of surviving gravestones were made in 1995-1996 by the late Benjamin Yaari-Wald is in book form in Israel. Additional information:

[July 2009]

TOMASZOW-MAZOWIECKI: An organization of this community, with over 100 members, exists in Israel. It is headed by committee of 11 members, 5 of whom are second generation, born in Israel. They help preserve the heritage and memory of the Jewish Community of Tomaszow together with all the other communities perished in the Holocaust. They erected a very impressive memorial in the cemetery of Holon, Israel and planted a wood of 15,000 trees in the Jerusalem mountains, numbering city members who perished in Treblinka. The Gordon School in Raanana that adopted our community arranges a special annual assembly for our members, the pupils, and their parents. In 1960, our organization published the Yizkor Book of Tomaszow.

The Jewish Cemetery Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, Benjamin Yaari: The book is beautiful and should be seen for a full appreciation of what can be found there. Very briefly, the project began after a visit in 1994 showed the terrible condition of the cemetery. Members of the Israeli Organization of Ex-Tomaszow Mazowiecki Residents in Israel decided to renovate of the cemetery. Local children were taught to be respectful of the cemetery to prevent them from using the cemetery for unsuitable activities such as football. At first, they spoke of about 250 headstones remaining in the cemetery. The aim was to decode and record details of as many of them as possible. After a month's work, they discovered more than 2,000 headstones and succeeded in recording the family names of half (prerequisite for recording), as well as other personal details. "In addition to names and dates, we were able to copy epitaphs and prayers, which were inscribed on the headstones... Our aim is to preserve the past and hand it over to the next generation, reinstating the honor of the community forefathers." The book lists the names of those found. The cemetery is laid out in the shape of the Hebrew letter "R". The main gate is located on General Gerta Robyatcky Street between houses number 39 and 43. From the southernmost point to the northernmost point, bordering the Catholic cemetery, the length of the cemetery is 21 x 64 meters. The length of the upper segment, parallel to the Catholic cemetery, is 236 meters. The width (parallel to Stoma Street) is 74 meters. According to these measurements, the total area of the cemetery is 2.64 hectares (26.4 dunams). First we marked the rows: row 1 is adjacent to the E wall, and the remaining rows were numbered until row 20, which is adjacent to the western wall. Rows beginning with the number 21 are in the upper part of the cemetery. We added three more digits to each headstone, beginning in the S and moving northward. Thus, we arrived at a 5-digit identification number for each headstone. We wrote each number on its headstone with a waterproof felt-tipped pen. This is the number that is written in the left column of our list of headstones. There are six columns on the list, as follows: 1 Family names and first names, 2. Father's name, 3, Husband's name (wife of) 4, year of death, 5 Four signs: the sign *= the prayer "God full of mercy". (We counted 28 headstones with this sign). The sign ** = epitaphs or words of praise are written. The sign # = a photo of the headstone is in our possession. The sign @ = a slide of the headstone is in our possession. 6, our number. We found a pile of headstones to the right of the main entrance that were removed from the cemetery by the Germans to be used as paving stones for truck parking lots throughout the town. After the war, the municipality returned a few headstones from the pile and tried to decipher their inscriptions. We were only partially successful. It seems that the trucks movement over the headstones erased most of the inscriptions. Those we deciphered were recorded and given the number 90 as the first two digits of the identification number. A small nearby building that was the purification room today is a chicken coop. The former Jewish gravedigger's residence exists occupied by an old, poor, sick, friendly couple. The man told us about his long-lasting friendship with the manager and gravedigger of the Jewish cemetery, whom he named Achil Eisenman. With grief, he told us that one day two uniformed Germans came to the cemetery and shot Eisenman to death, near the residence. He also told us that Eisenman is buried near the first boulevard. We took hundreds of pictures and slides in the cemetery. On the list, we marked headstones whose pictures or slides are in our possession. We are willing to provide copies of the pictures at the families' request. We would be happy to answer questions about the cemetery or the headstones. The Organization's office is at 158 Dizengoff Street, Tel. Aviv. The head of the organization, Benjamin Yaari, 6 Dror Street, Holon 58801, tel.: 03-5505432. The cemetery was badly neglected. Most of the headstones were uprooted; and some of them were upside down with the inscriptions facing the ground. Some headstones were smashed and broken, especially those of marble, which had been uprooted. Most of them were full of lichens and difficult to decipher. The cemetery's fence was broken. Local kids played football in the western part, for the most part empty of headstones. Source: Benjamin Yaari, Chairman of the Tomaszow Organization in Israel. Mr. Yaari does not have email so the data was sent by Ada Holtzman; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Ada Holtzman's site memorializing Tomaszow Mazowiecki has pictures and articles about the cemetery as well as the list of tombstones. [February 2002] Gravestones. [November, 2003]

In August 1993, the Assocation of Jews of Tomaszow fenced the entire cemetery and erected a monument with the retrieved matsevot around it. Source: US Commission [1999]

A Pole bought a house two years ago. In the garden, he found 13 Jewish tombstones. Investigation revealed that the Gestapo used the yard and house. They removed the stones from the cemetery to pave the yard. Benjamin Yaari, chairman of the TM organization in Israel, managed to return all the matzevot to the Jewish cemetery on 30 April 1999. The stones were placed in an impressive monument on the wall of the cemetery. The names on the tombstones have been included in the list above. [Source? 1999]

  • Source: They Lived Among Us: Polish Judaica , a travel brochure: Arline Sachs, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
    BOOK: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe . New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 67-68, gravestones 68
  • The Jewish exhibition catelogmetery Tomaszow-Mazowiecki, 3099, book, 6/18/1997, YAARI-WALD Benjamin, title: The Israel Book Organization of Journal, review residents of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki;,, 1996, 176 p., ANG/POL/HEB. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The books are among the collection at the Jewish Museum of Belgium. [03-30-2000]

US Commission No. POCE000037

Alternate name: Tomaszow Rawski. Tomaszow Mazowiecki is located in Piotrkow at 51º31 20º01, 28 km. from Piotrkow, 55 km. from Lodz. The cemetery is located at 18 Stycrnia No. 41, Smutna No. 12. Present population is 25,000-100,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Miejski, ul. Armii Ludowej 10/16, tel. 25-82.
  • Local: Z. Blaszczyk, region Konserwator Zabytkow 97-300 Piotrkow Tryb, ul. Czer. Armii 29; tel. 56 46.

The earliest known Jewish community was 1820. 1921 Jewish population was 10,070, 35.6%. The Jewish community was founded in 1831. Buried in the Orthodox cemetery were Tzaddik Jacob Elijahu, son of Abraham haCohan, who died 1888. The urban flat land, separate but near cemeteries, has a sign or plaque in Polish mentioning the Holocaust. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with a continuous masonry wall and non-locking gate. 500-5000 stones, most in original location, date from 1843, 1847 to 20th century. The cemetery has no special sections. The sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration or sculpted monuments have Hebrew and Polish inscriptions. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and marked mass graves. Within the limits is an ohel. The property used for Jewish cemetery (closed). Properties adjacent are residential and municipal cemetery. The cemetery boundaries are unchanged since 1939. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II. Only maintenance was transportation of some stones from the city back to the cemetery. They are stored and not re-erected. Moderate threat: uncontrolled access, weather erosion, pollution and vandalism.

Jan Pawet Woronczak, Sandomierska Str. 21m, 1; 02-567 Warszawa; tel. 49-54-62 completed this survey on 8 Sep 1991. The site was not visited.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 July 2009 15:59
 
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