The parishioners informed the parish priest from Komarów (Lublin province) about the discovery they made during the replacement of the stairs leading to the chapel in Eastern Janówka. They said when they turned the slabs of stone, they saw “some signs”. It turned out that the stairs were made of Jewish tombstones.
Two similar notifications have recently been submitted to the Zamość branch of the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Lublin. Both concerned the discovery of matzevot.
– The first application came from the town of Grabowiec, where a Jewish tombstone was found during the renovation of a residential building from the 1950s, says the Lublin Voivodship Monument Conservator Dariusz Kopciowski.
The commune office in Grabowiec was notified about the find. The matzevah is to be delivered to a closed cemetery located in this town. For the time being, it is kept with other slabs, which were recovered in 2012 after the dismantling of the stairs made of them, leading to a private property.
The matzevot were transported to the Jewish cemetery
– The second application came from the parish priest in Komarów. The parishioners from Janówka Wschodnia informed him that during the works related to the replacement of the old stairs leading to one of the chapels, they saw some signs on the reverse side of the stone slabs – says Kopciowski.
The employees of the monument protection office went to Janówka Wschodnia. They determined that the fragments of matzevot came most probably from the Jewish cemetery in Komarów. The plates were cleaned and photographed. Notified of the find, the commune authorities decided to transport the matzevot to the Jewish cemetery in Komarów Dolny.
Some of the dead have been read out
Professor Andrzej Trzciński from the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin managed to read the inscriptions visible on the tombstones. On the one found in Grabów there is a fragment of the Book of Psalms: “Here the sage, though poor in years and righteous, was buried in the way of the good, his soul ascended to heaven”. We do not know, however, the name of the deceased. However, researchers have established that the matzevah was created at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The tombstones from Komarów are slightly older, where some of the names of the deceased have been read. They are: Aleksander ben Awraham (died February 28, 1868), Mordechaj Manes ben Aleksander (died February 3, 1869) and Kalman ben Jehuda Lejb (died March 22, 1855).
Tombstones from the 19th century
“3 Nisan 615 has passed away. Here is buried a noble and righteous man, a scholar, our teacher Kalman, the son of a resting, scholar, our teacher Yehuda Lejb, blessed be his memory. Let his soul be tied in a sack of the living” – reads the inscription on one of the tombstones .
Although the names on the other two matzevot could not be read, according to researchers, they also belonged to people who died in the 19th century.
Stairs leading to the chapel in Janówka Wschodnia were built from matzevot
Main photo source: Maria Fornal / WUOZ in Lublin