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Bialystok. They are restoring the surviving fragment of the fence of the ghetto cemetery from 1941-43

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It was built in the ghetto. Regular burials took place here from August 1, 1941 to August 16, 1943, i.e. until the outbreak of the uprising. Later, the heroes of the battles rested here. We are talking about the cemetery at Żabia Street in Białystok, where work on the renovation of the only surviving fragment of the cemetery fence is coming to an end. The monument standing nearby has also been renovated.

– The fences of Jewish cemeteries play a very important role in our tradition. It is a symbolic fence between life and death. What is behind the wall is life, and what is inside the cemetery is death – tells us Lucy Lisowska, president of the Center for Civic Education Poland-Israel and representative of the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw for Białystok and the Podlaskie Voivodeship.

The city is just finishing the renovation of the only remnant of the fence of the ghetto cemetery located at ul. Żabia, near the block of flats at ul. Ghetto Heroes 7.

The wall is being restored Tomasz Mikulicz

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It was created on August 1, 1941

Of course, this is only a small fragment. The fence stretched around the entire necropolis, and it was not small, emphasizes Lisowska.

The cemetery was established on August 1, 1941, shortly after the establishment of the Jewish ghetto in Białystok.

Work is expected to be completed by August 7 Tomasz Mikulicz

During the German occupation, until the outbreak of the ghetto uprising (it broke out on August 16, 1943 and was the second largest after the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of the Jewish population against to the Germans – by. red.), regular burials took place here.

Lucy Lisowska: they could not bury the dead outside the ghetto

– Jews were not allowed to leave the ghetto. Therefore, they could not bury their loved ones in the necropolis at ul. eastern. Therefore, the cemetery had to be built in the ghetto area, explains Lucy Lisowska.

According to the Virtual Shtetl portal, it is estimated that about 900 to about 3.5 thousand people were buried in the ghetto cemetery. people.

This is just a small part of the fenceTomasz Mikulicz

“There are also mass graves of uprising fighters in the Białystok ghetto and burials of Jews murdered by the Germans during the first liquidation action in 1943. Also in the cemetery itself and in its vicinity, the Germans carried out executions. It is known that at the beginning of the uprising in the ghetto in the vicinity they shot patients and doctors of the Jewish hospital. The dead and wounded were buried in a mass grave,” we read on Virtual Shtetl.

It is estimated that about nine thousand people are buried here

The entry also states that initially the cemetery contained simple, single and collective graves, mostly anonymous.

“In the years 1944-1949, the area was cleaned and significantly enlarged, the families of the people buried here erected new matzevot commemorating the actual or alleged burial places of their relatives” – informs Virtual Shtetl.

They are also restoring the statue Tomasz Mikulicz

At the beginning of the 1950s, the cemetery occupied an area of ​​940 square meters, there were 3,560 single graves and six mass graves. The total number of people buried here was estimated at about nine thousand people.

In 1971, the cemetery was liquidated

The cemetery looked beautiful. Mordechaj Tanenbaum, the leader of the ghetto uprising, was buried there. Unfortunately, in 1971, despite the protests, the then communist city authorities decided to close the cemetery. The remains of the victims were exhumed – although our religion forbids exhumation – and moved to a common grave – says Lucy Lisowska.

Celebrations related to the 80th anniversary of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising will take place on Moderchai Tenenbaum Square on August 16Tomasz Mikulicz

He adds that the matzevot and almost the entire fence have been removed.

They did what they wanted without looking back. It is good that nowadays the memory of this newest Jewish cemetery in Bialystok is being restored. The city consulted with me the work on the fence. So I know that it will have a roof as it was originally. There will also be an information board, thanks to which everyone will know what they are passing by – our interlocutor points out.

Everything should be ready before the ceremony

According to the information sent to us by Agnieszka Błachowska from the department of social communication in the Bialystok city hall, the costs of work amounted to PLN 232,470. The deadline for completing the works is August 7.

This means that on August 16, participants in the celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Białystok Ghetto Uprising will be able to see the renovated fence. They will also see the renovated monument to the Ghetto Heroes, where work related to its cleaning and repainting is also coming to an end. Here the costs amounted to 18 thousand. zloty.

Opposite the monument there is a plaque informing that the ashes of Jews murdered by the Nazis were buried hereTomasz Mikulicz

Main photo source: Tomasz Mikulicz

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