Krynki Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Krynki is on the northeastern part of the town’s outskirts. It is shaped like an elongated rectangle with a long axis north-west-south-east). It was likely established in the 17th century and was enlarged several times in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in the interwar period. In the second half of the 19th century, it was fenced with a wall made of fieldstones. During World War II, the Germans stole matzevot for use in construction. Victims of executions from the town were buried in the cemetery. After the war, the exhumed remains of murdered Jews from the town and its vicinity were reburied in the cemetery. In the post-war years, local residents continued to steal the matzevot for construction purposes. The ohels and parts of the fence were dismantled. The neglected cemetery became overgrown with wild greenery. It is estimated that about 1,000 or 2,000 tombstones have been preserved, which are mainly made of unprocessed granite boulders (older tombstones) and processed granite blocks (newer tombstones). The oldest tombstones come from the second half of the 18th century.
Krynki was first recorded as a prince’s village around the mid-15th century. In 1569, Krynki was granted town rights by Sigismund II Augustus. In 1878, there were 3,336 inhabitants in Krynki, 85% of whom were Jews. In 1939, there were about 6,500 inhabitants, 66% of whom were Jews. Jews first settled in Krynki in the 16th century. In 1639, the presence of Jews was recorded in the privilege granted to the town. In 1662, Jews received permission from the king to build a synagogue and establish a cemetery (which was confirmed in 1745). In 1687, a session of the “Seym of Four Lands” was held in the village. In 1691, the Jewish community of Krynki became independent of the kehilla in Grodno. Before the partitions, it was one of the largest Jewish communities in Poland.
During the Russian partition, Krynki developed as an important industrial centre, with involvement from the Jewish community. 2,823 Jews lived in the town in 1878 (85% of the population), approximately 5,000 in 1914 (75%), and approximately 4,000 in 1939 (60%). During World War II, the Germans entered Krynki in June 1941. In the fall of 1941, they established a ghetto there. It was liquidated in the fall of 1942 when Jews were deported in stages to the extermination camp in Treblinka. The last Jews from the ghetto were shot on Pesach in 1943.