Jewish cemetery in Tykocin is located few hundred meters from the synagogue, by the road from Tykocin to Kiermus and Pentowa. It is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland, existing since 1522, from the time when Olbracht Gasztołd brought Jews to Tykocin. In the privilege for the Jews he decided:

“ A place to burry their death, we give them, behind gardens, entering the forest on the first hill over the river”.

Till 1750 also Białystok Jews were buried there. Today on the vast meadow we can see coupe of hundred typical for Podlasie tombstones (matzevot) made mainly from simple, raw stones. The oldest, identified matzeva is from the 1754. The necropolis was destroyed by the Germans, on their orders most of the tombstones were removed and the wall destroyed, the material was used for roads building. In the devastation process – after the war – Poles also participated, who used matzevot for different purposes in their households. A dozen of matzevot were recovered - some of them used as an abrasive shields – and are kept in the magazine of the local museum.

It is hard to imagine how the place looked like before the war. That is why we will quote the memories of Menachem Turek, one of the survivors, written in 1946: "Old cemetery was covered with old, heavy macevot from centuries ago. Graves of rabbis and gaons, the great of their generation. Graves to which people approached with their shoes off, with fear and great respect. Graves, around which legends were created; matzevot falling apart from age, with cracks, where people with trembling fingers, put kwitlech and right away felt a relief in their aching hearts”.

 

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