When I was next in Siemiatycze, I was much "luckier" and found a few more tombstones, again, surely from the cemetery. Near the school, there stood a wooden building, slightly raised off the ground. Up to this building ran large, stone stairs. These big steps were tombstones... We (my wife and my friend, Miroslaw Leszczak) took the steps apart, cleaned the stones and photographed them. Then we rebuilt stairs. It was a good idea at the time. By replacing the stones, they would remain safe and intact.
Many years ago, when the famous Bialystoker professor of medicine, Witold Slawinski, died, he was buried in a small Catholic cemetery in Suprasl (in the former Evangelical section). On a very simple tombstone, his family had placed an iron plaque with an inscription. This stone was also from the Jewish Cemetery. If the stone is examined carefully, it becomes possible to see Hebrew letters on the stone, on its front side. Were was this stone from? From which cemetery?
A narrow road leads from Bialystok to the small nearby village of Nowodworce. The center of village is paved with stones--many of them are parts of tombstones. Everywhere! There are perhaps fifty pieces of former Jewish tombstones. The story of this "cemetery" was told to me by Mieczyslaw Bronowski. He remembers how, during the war, Nazis destroyed the Jewish Cemetery in Bialystok and used tombstones to build many roads. Many such roads disappeared, covered with asphalt.
In the very small village of Skrybicze near Zabludow there lived a very
old man, deaf in both ears. Near his house was clutter, everywhere.
And suddenly, amidst the muddle, I saw a Jewish tombstone. I tried
to start a conversation, but he was deaf. All that I was able to
glean from him is that the tombstone was used by his father to build the
barn. It was done after the war. But the barn burnt and then
the tombstone became a step. "It was a very good step," said the man.
But it was damaged and split into two pieces. From then on, they
used it to sharpen knives.
In Topczewo, during the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a small Jewish Community which disappeared at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, it is a small, silent village on the way from Bialystok to Bransk.
I was really shocked when my friend showed me the local Christian Cemetery.
In the center, I found a tomb with a cross -- made from Jewish Matsevoth.
On one tombstone, you could easily read the inscriptions in both Polish
and Hebrew! From the Polish text on the stone, we know that S. Kazimierz
died in 1944. Under what circumstances? In what situation?
What happened? Why did people from his family in 1944 use a Jewish
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