During our trip to Poland last week, we successfully completed 14 Rabbinical surveys, one of which took place at the Sokółka Jewish cemetery.
The Sokółka Jewish cemetery was established based on a privilege issued by King Augustus II the Strong in 1698, in which the Jews of Sokołów received permission to establish “a mound to bury the dead.” As far as we know, there is no detailed information about the history of the cemetery and its appearance before 1939.
In 1921, 2,821 Jews lived in the town making up 46.3% of the population. It is thought that most of the population were murdered during the Holocaust between 1942 and 1943 and it was around this time that the cemetery fell into disrepair. In 1949, the Central Committee of Jews in Poland applied to the Municipal Board in Sokółka to take care of the cemetery in exchange for taking over the former synagogue. In 1987, 1,067 matzevot were found during the inventory carried out by Tomasz Wiśniewski and Andrzej Grajter. Based on the data by Dariusz Stankiewicz (https://bialystok.jewish.org.pl/page5.html), the dates of oldest identified tombstones are 1751 and then 1806, 1807 and 1811.