Ciechanowiec Old Jewish Cemetery
The second Jewish cemetery in Ciechanowiec was established in the 19th century and was located at the intersection of Uszyńska Street and Mogilna Street. It was closed for burials before the war. During World War II, it was completely devastated by the Germans. After the war, residential houses were built over the area. No traces of the former cemetery have survived.
The first information about Ciechanowiec dates to the 13th century. Ciechanowiec was granted Magdeburg town rights at the beginning of the 14th century. In the 16th century, the town was an important centre of the Arian movement. The first written information about Jews in the town dates to 1523. The Jews of Ciechanowiec initially belonged to the kehilla (organized Jewish community) in Tykocin, and an independent kehilla was likely established in the second half of the 17th century. In the second half of the 18th century, Jews constituted about 60% of the town’s population and were the fourth largest kehilla in the Podlasie Region. After 1807 and following the Treaty of Tylża, the town was divided: the eastern part came under Russian rule and the western part under Polish rule.
About 900 Jews (about 75%) lived in the Polish part of Ciechanowiec (the so-called New Town). On the Russian side, the community numbered about 2,500 people (less than 70%). There were two separate synagogue boards and many well-known Orthodox rabbis, including: Szabtaj ben Eljezer Zussman, Chajim ben Perec ha-kohen, Jaakow Lejb Heller, Eliiachu Baruch Komaj, Dawid Kamin, and Mosze ha-Lewi Rubinstein. During World War II, refugees from other occupied Polish towns flocked to Ciechanowiec, some of whom were incorporated into the Red Army. In October 1941, a ghetto was established in Ciechanowiec, where Jews from the surrounding villages were also gathered. A year later, shortly before the liquidation of the ghetto, the Germans carried out a mass execution of about 285 Jews in nearby Pobirki. The rest were transported to the extermination camp in Treblinka II, and some to Majdanek in Lublin.