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Jewish Families from Siedlce, Poland

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This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from Siedlce, Poland.

"Siedlce is a large town(city) in Masovian Voivodeship in east-central Poland. Historically a populous Jewish center of learning and business.

Siedlce may also refer to these small towns:

Siedlce, Gdańsk Siedlce, Lesser Poland Voivodeship (south Poland) Siedlce, Łódź Voivodeship (central Poland) Siedlce, Lubin County in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (south-west Poland) Siedlce, Oława County in Lower Silesian Voivodeship (south-west Poland) Siedlce, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (south-central Poland)

Until the Second World War, like many other cities in Europe, Siedlce had a significant Jewish population. At some times, indeed, Jews were the majority of its population. The presence of Jews at Siedlce is attested from the mid-16th century - inn keepers, merchants and artisans. A Jewish hospital existed in the town since the early 18th century. In 1794, a Beit Midrash (study hall) was founded in the town and 1798 the Jewish cemetery was extended, testifying to the increase of the community. These changes coincided with the town coming under Austrian rule with the Third Partition of Poland. Austrian rule lasted until 1809. It was passed to Russian rule in 1815 formally (in 1813 de facto), that lasted for over a hundred years. Until 1819 the Jewish community of Warsaw, 90 kilometres (56 miles) to the west, was formally subject to the authority of the Siedlce rabbis.

For much of the 19th Century - a time when the town's population steadily increased - Jews were the majority of Siedlce's population: 3,727 (71.5%) in 1839; 4,359 (65%) in 1841; 5,153 (67.5%) in 1858; 8,156 (64%) in 1878. Later on, the percentage of Jews decreased due to non-Jewish migration: according to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 23,700, Jews constituted 11,400 (so around 48% percent).[2] The first Polish census, in 1921, recorded 14,685 Jews living in Siedlce. Their number remained steady in the interwar period, and in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, there were some 15,000 Jews living in the town.[citation needed]

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, secular political and cultural activity was evident among Jews in Siedlce, as in the whole of Eastern Europe. In 1900 the Bund started activity in the town, as did the Zionist movement, and many of the town's Jews were adherents of the Polish Socialist Party. Between 1911-1939 two Yiddish weeklies were published in the town, and a Jewish high school was founded during the First World War.

In the last decades of Tsarist rule, many Siedlce activists (both Polish and Jewish) took part in the 1905 Revolution. After a series of attacks on Russians in all of Poland on Bloody Wednesday (15 August 1906) the Russian authorities organized a pogrom in Siedlce in reprisal on 8–10 September 1906,[3][4][5][6] in which 26 Jews perished. In the wake of the First World War the town was affected by the Polish-Soviet War, being occupied by the Red Army in 1920 and taken over by the Polish Army in 1921. " Source: Wikipedia February 2, 2018

JewishGen Siedlce has a large collection of materials on this town. The Jewish Gen Family Finder database (JGFF) has over 500 individual requests from researchers. Some researchers have been contacted to inform them of this Geni Jewish Town Project.

Associated with JewishGen is JRI-Poland, Jewish Records Index (JRI-Poland) extractions from microfilms and census records for many towns in Poland going back at least to 1800. For Siedlce the entire collection of LDS microfilms of birth, death, marriage has been viewed and data extracted into computer accessible records. These are available to JewishGen members. Coordinator Susan Stone facilitated this work.

YadVashem has records of Holocaust victims in great numbers. Approximately 17,500 individual records are available online. Many are composed of Pages of Testimony, a rich source of genealogical data on individuals and family.

The International Jewish Cemetery Project (IAJGS) has extensive data on this town and cemeteries: SIEDLCE: Mazowieckie [Shedlitz, Sedlets,rosyjski} Alternate names: Shedlitz שעדלעץ / שעדליץ [jidysz], Sedlets Седльце / Седлец [j rosyjski]. 52.16° N / 22.29. 2013 population: 764,383. Siedlce lies between two small rivers, the Muchawka and the Helenka, along European route E30. The seat of a Roman Catholic Diocese of Siedlce.

Cemetery photos. Video. Restoration story with photos: Volunteers salvaged matsevot at 14 Pilsudski Street that were located inside of the building's gate and took them to Siedlce Jewish cemetery. The matsevot laid face up during those years lost inscripions. Stones were identified as matsevot by the graver's marking visible on the opposite side of matsevot. Article also mentioned name of Jewish paver, Jontel Goldman who after WWII was removing matsevot from the Siedlce pavements and caried them to the Jewish cemetery. Article also mentioned that the next action related to the removal of matsevot from Siedlce -Chodow road were on biking trail planned for constructiion. (Chodow is located 4.5 miles NW from Siedlce on the main road to Sokolow Podlaski.) [February 2010]

Yizkor. [September 2010]

(The Jews in Siedlce 1850-1945)

Virtual Jewish World [June 2014]

Virtual Shtetl [June 2014]

Jewish Families of Bacau [June 2014]

Wikipedia has Jewish history. [Jan 2015]

CEMETERIES:

OLDEST CEMETERY: Located on the streets of the square between Żydowską, Długą and Starym Rynkiem streets (today's ul. Biskupa Świrskiego, ul. Berka Joselewicza and ul. Józefa Pilsudski). Although the date of its establishment is unknown, at the start of WWII, the cemetery had a matzevah from 1630. The cemetery was used until the end of the 18th century and survived to WWII.

OLD CEMETERY: The second Jewish cemetery was established in the first half of the eighteenth century between the current ul. Armii Krajowej, ul. Armii Krajowej, ul. Henryk Sienkiewicz, and ul. Kazimierza Pulaski. The Nazis destroyed the cemetery leaving only a piece of cemetery wall.

NEW CEMETERY: Probably established in 1807 or 1825 on ul Szkolnej. Kopówka, although the kahal bought the 3 ha of land twenty years later. Hundreds of graves, possibly 1,000, the oldest of which dates from 1855, were in the cemetery when the Nazis executed Jews here and burned their victims. In 1942, dozens of Jews were brought to the cemetery by SS-Mani who gave them five minutes to strip naked before being shot. After another execution, a toddler wandered around shrieking for the mother. In total, an estimated 3,000 victims of the Holocaust are buried here including 39 Jewish Red Army soldiers from in the camp in Jeniecki. One year after liberation, the few survivors gathered at the site of the mass to unveil a memorial monument and brick wall. The last burial at the cemetery took place in 1962. A lapidarium was built in 1987-1989, matzevot reset, wall repaired, and a new gate built. The site was landmarked in 1993. In 2009, a tablet was placed on gate commemorating Siedlce Jews by the Foundation for Protection of Jewish Heritage and Jews in Warsaw gmina, Wyznaniową. School students tend the cemetery. The access road to the cemetery has a sign with a Mogen David. Photos. [June 2009] US Commission No. POCE000579

Siedlce is located in Siedlechie province, 62 km from Warsaw and 130 km from Lublin. The cemetery is located on Szkolna Street. Present town population is 25,000-100,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

Town: Urzad Miasta, Skwer Niepodlegtosa 2, tel. 220-31 and Archiwun Panstwowe, ul. 1 Maja 2, tel. 225-74. Key (not caretaker): Przedsiebiorstwo Gospodarki Komunalnej [Workshop for Communal Administration], ul. Pilsudskiego 96. Interested: Izaak Halber, ul. Pilsudskiego 39, tel. 229-87; Wojwodzki Konserwator Zabytkow Siedlce, ul. Zbrojna 3, Siedlce; tel. no. 394-58; Edward Kopowka, ul. Kazimierzowska 24; and Biblioteka Miejska [City Library], ul. Pilsudskiego 3. The Jewish community dates from first half of 17th century. 1939 Jewish population was 15,250. The city had a pogrom in 1906.The Jewish cemetery was established in 1807 with last known burial (Berman) in 1988. Unlandmarked but is a concern of the conservator. The isolated urban flat land has a Polish sign. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is entirely closed with a partial masonry wall and locking gate. The size today and before WWII was 3.0 hectare. 500-5000 stones are visible with 100-500 in original position and fewer than 50%-75% toppled or broken. Tombstones date from the 19th-20th centuries. The marble, granite and sandstone rough stones/boulders, flat-shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, or flat stones with carved relief decoration have Yiddish inscriptions. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims. No known mass graves. Municipality owns property used for Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. Occasionally, private visitors stop. The cemetery was vandalized during WWII. Local/municipal authorities cleared vegetation and fixed wall and gate in 1987-9. Authorities occasionally clear or clean. No structures. Weather erosion is a moderate threat. Vegetation overgrowth is a seasonal problem, preventing access.

Cezary Osta [no longer lives there] completed survey on 23 Nov 1992. Documentation: Cezary Ostas and St. Fiedorczuk at the conservator's office in Siedlce, Project for cemetery area arrangement, and Monument to the Martyrdom of Jewish Nation in Siedlce by Witold Sobczyk, 1961 found in the conservator's office in Siedlce. He interviewed Izaak Halber and Edward Kopowka in Siedlce on 20 Nov 1992 and visited site on 23 Nov 1992.

MASS GRAVE: This section contradicts the Commission survey. In the summer of 1995, we visited Siedlce. We found the gates to the cemetery wide open. In the middle of the cemetery we found a mass grave for hundreds of Jews from Siedlce and surrounding towns. Marking the grave is a huge round stone inscribed in Hebrew, Yiddish, and Polish. Date of burial was 1946. Earlier that day,we met with Edward Kopowka at the local museum, who showed us post-war photographs of local streets paved with stones removed from the cemetery. He told us that a Jewish man by the name of Gotman collected and returned them to the cemetery. We also saw pictures of caskets full of skeletons collected by the same man. Those caskets were buried at the mass grave. I took many pictures of the cemetery. I also have a picture of the cemetery dated 1920. Source: Sara Mages; charlesmages@sprintmail.com [Post-1995]

Photo by Chuck Fishman (from Facebook) [August 2015]

Many memories of this Jewish town are vividly described in this web site: http://www.siedlce.org.il/

The Virtual Shtetl site http://www.sztetl.org.pl offers many photos of gravestones and some background information on the town of Siedlce.

The Kirkuty site www.http://www.kirkuty.xip.pl/siedlce.htm offers copyright protected photos of gravestones at Siedlce.

The Beit Hatfutsot site http://www.dbs.bh.org.il offers extensive background material on Siedlce as well as some personal genealogy trees.

Yizkor Book is available here: http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Siedlce1/Siedlce1.html                       Thank you Lance!

Facebook has a page for Siedlce Jewish Heritage, covers cemeteries, tourism visits, photos, and genealogy questions. It's a Public Group with about 450 members. Accessed September 12, 2020.