The Jewish Cemetery of Tomaszow Mazowiecki

Traces of the Polish Resistance in the Cemetery

At the foundation of Tomaszow the Jewish community was small, and its residents did not feel the need for a cemetery within the city limits, but instead, they buried their dead in Ujazd, which was 15 kms. away from Tomaszow. As time passed and the community grew and blossomed, the city founders received a parcel of land from Count Ostrowski, next to the Catholic and Lutheran cemeteries, all three of which were probably founded at the same time, because their size and are equal. The date on which the cemetery was founded has been forgotten by the residents, and the headstones do not provide any clues. The headstones which today remain intact, albeit with inscriptions partially or completely worn away, still command the attention of connoisseurs of the art of sculpture and carving, because they are excellent works of art and delicacy, with flowery curves, corollas with lamps, books and charity boxes, hands open for a blessing, and other such extremely beautiful signs which show that the stone-carver was worthy of being a unique sculptor.

Among the rest of the headstones, two which attract the attention of connoisseurs belong to two sisters who were buried on the same day, and each stone is carved with the white Polish eagle, in all his beauty and glory. According to the title that is known, the two sisters were killed by the Russians. Their names and date of burial were erased, and it is unknown if they were killed during the 1831 rebellion or the 1863 rebellion. It probably happened in 1831, because 60 years ago, I had already questioned a few elderly people in this matter, and they couldn't remember any clear information to tell me.

The old people of the city have never stopped telling that in the year of the 1863 revolution, there was one Jewish woman from Tomaszow commanding a company of rebels who passed through the city many times with the company, riding a horse. One Thursday, a market day, she gave a speech to the farmers who came to the city to sell their goods, arousing them and creating great enthusiasm to participate in the revolution. She was under the thumb of General Leangivitch, who supervised the fighting in Opoczno region, and her family name was Altschuler. According to this information, one can assume that the headstone with the Polish eagle are hers and her sister's.

Another iron headstone, whose carvings are in Polish, and is surrounded by an iron fence, standing on Doctor Sznicer grave.

Yakov Steinman


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