Jewish Cemetery, Narewka
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Jewish cemetery in Narewka remains one of the few well-preserved sites of its kind in the Podlaskie province, with a large number of surviving matzevot. It is also the only tangible trace of the thriving pre-war Jewish community of Narewka - a village which had enjoyed the status of a town at the time. Many of the surviving matzevot (headstones) present an artistic value. The inscriptions on the headstones remain a valuable source of information about the history of the local Jewish culture.

History

The Jewish cemetery in Narewka can trace its roots to the mid-19th century; it was in the early days of the 19th century that the town of Narewka saw a substantial increase of its Jewish population. The reason for this state of affairs has been the rapid growth of the timber industry in the area surrounding the Białowieża Forest. At that point, the life in Narewka began to shift towards distinctly urban patterns, with the location itself being referred to as a town in various written sources. In the year 1880, 778 out of 863 local residents were Jews (90%), while in 1897, the town had 1268 residents - including 1004 Jews. A mid-19th century synagogue and bath house (mikveh) were located on Szkolna street. The Jewish cemetery was located on a hill, alongside the road leading towards Guszczewina. The cemetery remained in active use until World War 2.

Description

The Jewish cemetery in Narewka is located approximately 1 kilometre east of the centre of the village, on the left hand side of the road from Narewka to Guszczewina, on a small hill. The surface area of the entire site is 1.3 hectares; parts of the cemetery are still surrounded by fragments of a stone and concrete wall. The matzevot - surviving in relatively large numbers - are clustered around the central part of the cemetery, dating back to the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The oldest preserved headstone dates back to 1851. Over the years, the nearby mixed forest has encroached upon the cemetery site, which is now overgrown with trees.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 24-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Wiśniewski T., Bóżnice Białostocczyzny, Białystok 1992, p. 178.
  • Miasta polskie w tysiącleciu, vol. 1, Wrocław- Warsaw-Cracow 1965, p. 273.
  • Dobroński A., Niespełnione miasto, “Medyk Białostocki”, no. 98, 2011, pp. 30-32.

General information

  • Type: Jewish cemetery
  • Chronology: poł. XIX - 1. poł. XX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Narewka
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district hajnowski, commune Narewka
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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