Suraz Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Suraż is located in the north-western part of the town, on a hill at Białostocka Street, and covers a plot (shaped like a rectangular trapezoid) with an area of 0.3760 hectares (ha). The cemetery’s establishment date is unknown though, according to unconfirmed sources, it was established in 1865. The cemetery fell into disrepair during and after World War II. On June 10, 1967, the Minister of Municipal Economy, following the resolution of the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Suraż dated July 10, 1965, signed an order to close the cemetery. The accompanying documentation states the area (0.3760 ha) and the date of the last burial (1943). Local authorities called for the afforestation of the area. In the cemetery records from 1987, in the “General State of Preservation” paragraph, the following was written: “Tombstones are destroyed and broken. Graves are dug up and obliterated, overgrown with grass.” At that time, the authorities planned to establish a slaughterhouse in the cemetery.
There are only single tombstones in the cemetery in different states of preservation, most of which are in the form of stelae made of granite erratic boulders. Two matzevot have been preserved in the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography in Suraż. The cemetery is partially fenced with a fragment of the pre-war concrete wall and a damaged modern metal mesh fence. The area is overgrown with vegetation (shrubs and trees) which makes it difficult to access the cemetery during the growing season. The owner of the cemetery is the State Treasury, and the user is the Commune of Suraż. The cemetery is listed in the Municipal and Provincial Register of Monuments and the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Podlaskie Voivodeship.
The first records of Jews in Suraż date too the 16th century, though Jewish community only developed significantly in the 19th century. In 1845, 239 Jews lived in the town, and 386 in 1897. In the first decades of the 20th century, the Jewish population decreased and by 1931, there were only 86 Jews left in the town. Most of the Jews who remained were killed during World War II.