Friday, September 29, 2006


The Old Cemetery

The Old Cemetery lies on the side of a hill between ul. Woziwodzka (Water Carrier Street) and ul. Rybaki (Fisherman Street), just three blocks from Stary Rynek (the Old Square), which is still the town center.

The Old Cemetery was used by the earliest Jews of Lomza. Eventually, Jews were not permitted to live within the town limits and expelled to the surrounding villages, during which time the Jews of the Lomza area buried their dead in Sniadowo. (Incidentally, the Jewish Cemetery of Sniadowo is completely devastated, and there is now a gravel mine on its site.) Once Jews were allowed to live in Lomza again, in 1822, they reestablished the Old Cemetery. It was expanded at least once, around 1858, and used until it was deemed full in 1892, at which time the New Cemetery was opened.

The Old Cemetery today bears little resemblance to its former appearance. All of the stones are evenly spaced in neat rows on even, well manicured ground. As recently as the 1950's, the terrain undulated and the hillside was far from smooth. Moreover, while almost all of the gravestones are erect, some are upside-down, some are turned around, and at least one is sideways (i.e., one side is buried), so they must have been removed and reinstalled. Stones for men and women are mixed, unlike the strict separation seen at the New Cemetery. Also, in 60 years, there must have been thousands of people buried there, yet there are only about 200 stones.

I am going to post the photos of the Old Cemetery as they were given to me by the photographer, Antoni Dudo. He photographed them in three groups, and I will be using his group numbers and the numbers of the photos within the groups. I do not know of any survey of the Old Cemetery, and the stones are more difficult to read than those in the New Cemetery, so it is going to be difficult for me to keep track of them. As a result, there may be duplicates. As we obtain better photos and as they are translated, I will be able to eliminate the extra copies.

The two photos below were taken in the Old Cemetery, apparently in 1953 or 1954. Again, it looks very different today, and it probably looked even more different when it was closed in 1892.

Thanks for this invaluable resource and tribute to our families.
Thank you for this rich and touching tribute to our families. My father's family was from Lomza/Nowogrod/Ostralenka/Sulki..
and I know that some are buried in the Old Cemetery. I was there in 2002..and it would have been a monumental task to record names at that time, alone! The new cemetery is also "home" to some of my family. You've done a good deed.
You have done a great mitzva. The Jewish community of Lomza was one of the holiest in europe, filled with Torah loving Palisher Litvaks. Zy Gezunt.
I have been to this place and was utterly dismayed at the lack of knowledge by the locals of even the very existence of the cemetery
I visited this cemetery in recent years. I think in 1953 (when your pictures were taken) there was much more gravestones than now.
Krzysztof - Jewish cemeteries in Poland
Thank you for taking the time to put this together. It is an invaluable resource and has means a great deal to many, I am sure.
Many thanks for this. My family is also from Lomza/Nowogrod/Ostralenka and seeing these graves is very special.
My late father came from Lomza. His whole family left in 1930 for Cape Town, South Africa. Great pity that today there seems hardly any reference to the Jewish life there. They also had a great Yeshiva, and was a centre of Jewish learning.
My mother's family is from Lomza, and both of her parents were Kafkas (1st cousins). My grandfather was Noach, my grandmother was D'vorah Leah, and they are buried in NY, but there had been an infant boy that died before coming to America. Also, my grandfather was a conscript in the Russian army, stationed in Finland...where he had other Kafka cousins. We have no records of their lives prior to them coming over..Noach was born in 1875, D'vorah Leah around 1880. Their eldest daughter was born 1899 as Neselika (sp), then there was a Yacob, Feivel, Etta and Etka...not in that order. My mother was born here.
My Mother's (z'l") paternal family came from Lomza. Can the name Kendzierski be read on any of the headstones? With many thanks, Gaby
Sorry, plenty of Kendzierskis in Lomza, but that name does not appear on any of the stones which have been transcribed. There may be family members on stones with patronymics only though.
This is great and important work, Gary! A list by last name of the identified stones with links to the photos would be most helpful! My family was originally from Lomza...did you find any stones with the names Poritzky, Poricky, Rosenbaum, or Rozenbaum?
Looking for grave stone with name "Kossowicz" or variants. Thanks
Happy New Year. This is fabulous what you have done. I just found your blog and research by chance while looking at a link about the history of Lomza, the home of my maternal grandfather Abraham (Avrum) Rosenthal born in the 1880's. My grandmother Lilian (Libby Raiza) was from Ostralenka. I am first trying to find any information for my grandfathers parents or other family who would likely have been buried in the old cemetery or possibly the new one. I think his father was Eli Shlomo. I looked through your list and only found one Lea Rosenthal but not sure if that's a relation. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
I'm re-reading this again tonight, 15 years since my first post, and after a second visit about 8 or 9 years ago. We've found no trace in the cemeteries of my paternal greatgrandparents and other relatives...Windenberg/Vindenberg/Vildenberg/Wildenberg/Bundendepr...and so know in our hearts that they are at rest and in our prayers. Our other families, Krimkiewicz, Cinkiewicz/and more who came from Sulki/SUlca/Cyncu are not in the registries,either. My father and grandfather left Lomza for New York in 1923; my grandmother and other children followed a few years later.........but still I/we search, and search some more. Thank you for continuing to post these sites..and for all of the work entailed. Judie Cynkus Rice, Los Angeles

I forgot to put in the name(s) Szulimowicz......also from Nowogrod/Lomza/Cyncu . Again, thank you. Judie Rice
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