Jews appeared in Trzcianne in the 18th century. According to 1897 Russian national census, the town was inhabited by 2,266 Jews who made up 98% of the population – it was the biggest percentage of Jewish population of all the towns in the Podlasie region[1.1].

The Jewish community of Trzcianne lacked their own religious centre. The area in which they lived belonged to the Tykocin kahal. Local Jews had to use the Tykocin synagogue and cemetery, which provided considerable income to the Tykocin Community Council. However, the inhabitants of Trzcianne independence. In 1740, this led to a dispute, the result of which was that Trzcianne Jews, Lejba Szlomowicz, Herszko Wulfowicz, as well as Byśko Jowelowicz (religious judge), undertook the obligation not to hold their own services and not to establish a cemetery.

However, after a fire on 15th August 1778, Trzcianne was threatened with depopulation, which led the Knyszyn and Goniądz County Elder to issue a permit to construct a synagogue in the town. In the 19th century, a 1.08 hectare cemetery was also established. It was destroyed during World War II and the wall and the matzevot (gravestones) were removed. Only a small number of gravestones, with inscriptions, have been preserved.

After World War I, the Jewish population of Trzcianne decreased significantly. In 1921, 1,402 Jews lived in the town (still making up almost all of its population).

Until the outbreak of World War II, only six brick buildings, including three Jewish ones, had been constructed among the densely built-up wooden houses. Just before the War, the number of Jews in the town was estimated at 2,500.

In June 1941, after taking over Trzcianne, the Germans first set fire to the houses and then drove some 1,000 Jews into barns in the village of Zubole, where they kept them without food or water for a week. Then, in a series of executions, some 500 to 800 people were killed and then buried on the spot. Polish collaborators took part in the search for hidden Jews and and even in some of the executions[1.2]. After a few weeks the bodies were exhumed and buried in the Jewish cemetery. Meanwhile, Poles robbed and vandalised Jewish houses.

A ghetto was created in Trzcianne in the autumn of 1941, which was liquidated on 2nd November 1942. Some 600 people were deported to the Bogusze transition camp and then sent to concentration and death camps. In total, some 1,200 Trzcianne Jews were deported to the Treblinka and Auschwitz camps. Only 25 people survived the Holocaust. Some of them hid in Polish houses or in forest pits.

After the War, they emigrated to the United States or Israel[1.1.2]

Bibliography

  • Crago L., Trzcianne, [in:] Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1939–1945, Vol. II, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe, Part A, P. Megargee, M. Dean (eds), Bloomington, 2012, pp. 970–971.
  • Skutnik T., Wierzbicka U., Cmentarze żydowskie na ziemi monieckiej, e-monki.pl (Jewish Cemeteries in the Mońki Region) [online] http://www.e-monki.pl/historia_skutnik_cmentarze.php [accessed on: 20 June 2014].
  • Trzcianne, [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Volume III, Sh. Spector (ed.), New York 2001, p. 1337.
  • Wiśniewski A., Żydzi nad Biebrzą, Biebrzański Park Narodowy (Jews Along the Biebrza River, The Biebrza National Park) [online] http://www.biebrza.org.pl/59,historia.html?wiecej=17 [accessed on: 20 June 2014].
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Footnotes
  • [1.1] Trzcianne, [in:] Encyclopedia of Jewish Life Before and During the Holocaust, Volume III, Sh. Spector (ed.), New York 2001, p. 1337.
  • [1.2] Crago L., Trzcianne, [in:] Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1939–1945, Vol. II, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe, Part A, P. Megargee, M. Dean (eds), Bloomington, 2012, pp. 970–971.
  • [1.1.2] Crago L., Trzcianne, [in:] Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos 1939–1945, Vol. II, Ghettos in German-Occupied Eastern Europe, Part A, P. Megargee, M. Dean (eds), Bloomington, 2012, pp. 970–971.