Wizna Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Podlaskie Voivodeship
Site address
Adjacent to Ruś, 2-4. The cemetery is located in the village of Ruś (Gmina Wizna) in the forested area behind buildings 2-4.
GPS coordinates
53.202967, 22.407192
Perimeter length
260 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The Jewish cemetery is located in a wooded area on a hill behind buildings No.2 & 4 in the village of Rus. The adjacent lands are forests and private properties. The cemetery area is extremely overgrown and hard to access. The historical boundaries of the cemetery have not been preserved. Several tombstones have survived however.
Number of existing gravestones
8 fragments of tombstones have been preserved. Some matzevot do have inscriptions, however it is impossible to check the dates, because the lower parts of the tombstones have sunken into the ground.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Jews settled in Wizna no later than the 18th century. In 1765 the organized Jewish community came under the authority of the greater community of Tykocin. In 1921, 714 Jews (26% of the total population) lived in Wizna, most of whom were murdered between June and July 1941. The Jewish cemetery in Wizna is in the village of Ruś, on the western side of the road parallel to the Narew River, on the hillside, between estates number 2 and 4. Before 1939, the cemetery covered an area from the road to the west, including the slope of the hill, likely to the peak. The cemetery was likely founded in the second half of the 18th century as its existence was mentioned in a visit report from the Catholic Parish in 1781:

“Graves for Jewish children and poor people are located in the forest outside the town as it was decided in the past.”

Victims murdered in the summer of 1941 are buried in the cemetery. The cemetery was devastated and some inhabitants from the surrounding villages participated in the process. The tombstones were used as building material and grinding discs, and outhouses were erected in the cemetery. Part of the area was overgrown with dense vegetation and used as a garbage dump. A part of the cemetery became the property of a private citizen. In 2014, the new owner ordered cleaning and work to be done on the earth, including burrowing the hill. Consequently, many graves were violated and desecrated; bones that were mixed with sand were moved away from the property. As a result of the damage, single tombstones have been preserved in the form of stelae made of fieldstone granite and concrete grave foundations. The area is unfenced, and the boundaries of the cemetery are imperceptible. Part of the cemetery is still owned by the private person. There is an ongoing procedure regarding the ownership status of the rest of the cemetery. The cemetery is listed in the Provincial Register of Monuments but not in the Provincial Register of Immovable Monuments.