Radzanow Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Radzanów was established following a privilege granted in 1765. It covered an area of 0.75 hectares and was located on a small hill on the Wkra River southeast of the town centre. As early as 1775, the cemetery was surrounded by an earth rampart and a fence. There was also a two-room building that served as a caretaker’s house and a funeral house in the cemetery. The cemetery was destroyed by the Germans in the spring of 1940.
The tombstones and the fence were used for construction purposes. Books from the local synagogue were burned in the cemetery. After the war, the cemetery was left abandoned. The remaining fragments of tombstones were stolen, and the area was used as an arable field. In the period of the Polish People’s Republic, the part of the cemetery where the funeral house stood was sold by the local authorities to a private owner, who established a farm in the area. Today, the rest of the area is a meadow. There is no form of commemoration of the cemetery.
The thirteenth-century settlement of Radzanów was granted Chełmno town rights in 1400 by the Duke of Mazovia, Siemowit IV. The town was a famous centre of cloth production. Jewish settlement in the town began to develop in the second half of the 18th century when in 1765 the owner of the town, Dorota Niszczycka, donated two streets, a square for a cemetery and a synagogue to the Jewish community, and granted the Jews privileges to trade in all kinds of goods, as well as to produce and sell vodka. The first Jews who moved to the town had been previously expelled from nearby Szereńsk. In 1827, the community numbered 375 people.
Since Radzanów is located at a border, from 1823–1862 there was a ban on settlement for Jews from other towns. In spite of this, the Jewish community’s population almost doubled during that time. In 1856, Jews constituted 57% of the total population (612 people). After the loss of town rights in 1869 (following the January Uprising), the town’s growth stagnated. The debt-ridden town owners sold Radzanów to Samuel Konitz, who came from a Jewish, Polonized family from Pomerania. His sons managed the settlement until 1912. In 1921, 303 Jews lived in Radzanów, constituting 23% of the total population. During World War II, some Jews died as a result of the repressions and of forced labour, while the rest (about 200 people) were deported to the ghetto in Mława in November 1941, and then to the extermination camps in Treblinka and Oświęcim.