The Jewish Cemetery of Tomaszow Mazowiecki

Benjamin Yaari (left), Urszula Trocha and Polish friends in the Dedication Ceremony for the return of Matzevot to the ceemtery, April 1999

Notes and Explanations for the Visitor to the Jewish Cemetery of Tomaszow and to the Reader of this Book.

The headstones, from which we recorded the names and details which appear in the book under the title: A List of Headstones," were marked by us, for identification purposes, with a 5-digit numbers. The first two digits represent the row numbers, and the remaining three digits run consecutively within the area and record the information that is represented on the cemetery map, enclosed with this book.

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, which borders the Catholic cemetery, the length of the cemetery is 21 meters, and the width is 64 meters. The length of the upper segment, which is 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 eastern 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 south 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 which is written in the left column of our list of headstones.

There are six columns on the list, as follows:

column 1:

Family names and first names

column 2:

Father's name

column 3:

Husband's name (Wife of...)

column 4:

Year of death

column 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.

column 6:

The identification number of the headstones, marked by us.

 

 

We found a pile of headstones to the right of the main entrance. These are headstones which were removed from the cemetery by the Germans to be used as paving stones for parking lots for trucks in different places in 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 seams that the trucks movement over the headstones erased most of the inscriptions. Those which we were able to decipher we recorded and gave the number 90 as the first two digits of the identification number.

All the headstones face east, with the exception of the headstones in rows 12a, 12b and 12c, which face west. These rows are located in the upper part of the cemetery, which is the continuation of the boulevard that ends where the cemetery becomes larger.

There is a building in the cemetery that used to serve as the residence of the Jewish grave digger, and nearby there is a smaller building, which used to be the purification room. Today, the purification room serves as a chicken coop, and the residence is occupied by an old, poor, sick, friendly couple. The man told us about his long-lasting friendship with the manager and the grave digger of the Jewish cemetery, whom he names Achil Eisenman. With grief, he told us that two uniformed Germans came to the cemetery one day and shot Eisenman to death, near the residence. he also told us that Eisenman is buried near the first boulevard.

On the base of a few headstones, we found "self-advertising" for headstone carvers: Goldberg, 44 Warszawka Street, Tomaszow. Baczinski, 19 Legiegiem Street, Tomaszow. Z.H. Lebenburg , 33 Litewska Street, Piotrkow C Satat 30 Zagerger Street, Lodz.

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. it is possible to contact the Organization's office, at 158 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv, or the head of the Organization, Benjamin Yaari, 6 Dror Street, Holon 58801, tel.: 03-5505432.

it is pleasant duty for us to thank the many good people who helped in the planning, preparation and execution of the project at the cemetery in Tomaszow, and to the generous people who helped and supported the creation of this book. May they all be blessed.

Benjamin Yaari

 


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