We Remember Janow Sokolski
A Sketch of the wooden Synagogue
The Janow Sokolski Synagogue, Photo by Szymon Zajczk
Synagogue Interior - Photo by Szymon Zajczk
The Menorah, from Moshe Verbin's Catalogue
A Wooden Synagogue in Poland, destroyed by the Nazis during WWII.
Pictures of the old wooden and destroyed Synagogue of Janow Sokolski. Donated by Allen B. Saxe 27.11.99 (email: absaxe "at" earthlink.net – replace "at" by @ to avoid spam)..
The pictures were photographed by Szymon Zajczk of blessing memory.There is an excellent biography of him in the book Images Before My Eyes, A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland,1864-1939. It should be available at any bookstore or major library. He was the major photographer of
From Moshe Verbin catalogue:
"The synagogue was built in the second
half of the 18th century and was burnt down by the germans during the second
Its dimensions: 19x 19.5 m, hight: 16 m.
The women 's sections were at the northern and southern parts of the ground floor as well as the gallery over the learning rooms at the west. The almost square men's synagogue was on a lower level than the entrance room and was covered with an octagonal dome with its center coming down a little into the hall."
Moshe Verbin: Model of the Synagogue
of Janow Sokolski
The Feel of History | Janow Sokolski | The Synagogue | Bunim and Sara Scharja | Sima and Jacob Lev | Yeshiva Years | Leaving Janow | The Letters | The Shoah | The Saxe Family | Eight Generations | The Family Tree | Appendix 1-Letters | Appendix 2-Records | Links
book: "Jewish Bialystok and
Surroundings in Eastern Poland, by Tomasz Wisniewski, published by
Ipswich Press (
Population 4920 (in 1993).
49 km north of
Jews began to settle in Janow as early as the 17th century, and by 1719 the bishop of Vilno, Konstanty Brzostowski, had granted them permission to build a synagogue (which was constructed in 1740). The town's census in 1775 counted 214 Christian residents and 221 Jews. In 1897, 1797 (or 78 percent) of the town's 2,296 residents were Jewish.
In the book of Gary Mokotoff " Where Once We Walked" it is written that there were 1027 Jews living in the town in 1921.
Just prior to World War II, nearly 1,100 Jews lived in this small, poor town known for its hotel, which was owned by the Jew Chmiel Rudawski.
Rabbis in Janow from 1880 until WWII included Nissin Perelsztejn, Jehoszua Kralusz, and Zalman Kosowski.
The town's wooden synagogue, which prior to World War II was renovated and maintained by the State Office for Historical Buildings, was burned and destroyed by the Nazis.
A Jewish cemetery remains in the northern part of Janow (On the way to Kuplisk and Kamienica). The cemetery - which is not fenced in any way - contains about 200 mazevas as well as the remains of a brick gate.
Jewish families named in the 1928 guide: "Medicine doctors and pharmacy: Chassin Ruben, Shapiro Maria, Goldstein Gershon. Butchers: Bobrowicz Chaim, Nowokolski Mendel."
Thanks to Stanley Diamond and Arne J. Pearlstein for their comments and corrections, now added to the article. Anyone who has more information/old photos/articles/sources on this lost Jewish Community is kindly requested to contact me.
Ada Holtzman - Tel Aviv - 9.12.99
Heartland of the Jewish Life Synagogues and Jewish communities in Bialystok
Region, Tomasz Wisniewski rys. Jaroslaw
2. Janow, Studium historyczno-urbanistyczne, opr. J. Kubiak, Warszaw 1974 (BBIDZ Bialystok).
3. St. Szyroki, Monografia parafii janowskiej w dekanacie sokolskim woj. Bialostockiego 1936.
Business Directory of Janow Sokolski
Treblinka: The End
"The Nizkor Project identifies transports from
Allen Saxe: "Jacob Lev, Simcha Scharja Lev, Abram Lev,
Shandel Lev of blessed memory. They along with my grandparents and
millions of others were killed during the shoah. They perished at
Allen Saxe: My Grandparents: Sara and Bunim Scharja of Blessed Memory,Perished in Holocaust, Treblinka.
I have received a note from the Museum Director that my request for a monument for JANOW SOKOLSKI has been approved and that the stone inscription will be done this summer.
I appreciate your support, direction and assistance.I hope we will meet in
Message from Allen
(email: absaxe "at" earthlink.net – replace "at" by @ to avoid spam).
As a youth I spent
hours going through the top drawer of my parents’ dresser where they kept the
family photographs and letters from
Over the past several years, I have documented the history of JANOW SOKOLSKI and my family. It was with deep pain that I learned that the death and destruction of the Jews of Janow along with millions of others was at Treblinka. Treblinka’s sole purpose was to kill. It was not a concentration camp or a labor camp; its mission was to kill our families as fast as possible.
A stone monument has
now been placed at Treblinka to memorialize this community. Hopefully my work
and the work of many others like Stanley Diamond and Arnie
Pearlstein whose families came from Janow will tell the full story of the
community. Ada Holtzman of Tel Aviv has encouraged
and assisted me. Tomasz Wisniewski of
JewishGen has become a primary resource for Jewish historical and genealogical research. I urge all to use it and support it finan.
Remembering JANOW SOKOLSKI assures that the story will
continue. As I searched the past, I located family in the
My father left Janow in 1928. Between 1928 and the Shoah, his parents, Bunim and Sara Scharja and all the family wrote letters to my father. My father died in 1954. My mother kept the letters and often shared stories of their content.
In 1998, I had my cousin Stephen Bensman and his wife Miriam Bensman translate these letters which were written in Yiddish. Among the letters was a letter from Rabbi Abraham Kosowski. For years I have been searching for any of his family. Over the years a large number of Kosowski reasearchers formed a group. Recently Bob Kosovsky put together a enormous list of all Kosowsky (and variants) entries. Among those entries I located a reference to a Yad Vashem record for Rabbi Abraham Abba Kosowsky submitted by his sister,Rachel Kofman, in the 1950's. I then contacted Avignor Ben-Dov who is active in Bialystok research in Israel and requested his assistance in locating the family. He jumped right on this,found their home which was still the home of the family. He confirmed the details and gave me the phone number of Ahova Braude. I called her and told her about the letter. She was most pleased that I had some record of her family. The letter is on his offical stationary as the Head Rabbi.We hope to meet in Israel.
I appreciate the help of all those who work to remember our families and the Jewish communities throughout the world. I especially appreciate the work of Ada Holtzman of Israel who has been tireless in her efforts. JewishGen is a resource that enables us to help each other in learning and remembering our history.The work at Yad Vashem is so valuable.
A Symbolic Stone for Janow Sokolski added after Allen B. Saxe's efforts.
Treblinka, May 2000.
We Shall Remember!