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Alternate names: Suwałki [Pol], Suvalk, סואוואלק [Yid], Suvalki, Сувалки [Rus], Suvalkai [Lith], Suwalken [Ger], Sudauen [Ger, 1941-44]. 54°06' N, 22°56' E, 45 miles NW of Grodno, 67 miles N of Białystok. Capital of Suwałki gubernia, 1867-1917. 1900 Jewish population: 7,458. Yizkor: Yisker Bukh Suvalk (New York, 1961);Coat of arms of Suwałki Sefer kehilat Suvalk u-benotehah (Tel Aviv, 1989). ShtetLink. This town in NE Poland with 69,340 inhabitants in 2008 on the Czarna Hańcza river is the capital of Suwałki powiat and one of the most important centers of commerce in the Podlaskie Voivodeship. Until 1999 the town was the capital of Suwałki Voivodeship. About 30 km from the SW Lithuanian border, one Lithuanian ethnographic region is named Suvalkija, after this town. [July 2009]

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In late 1750, the land on which to build the city of Suwałki with a special street for Jewish settlers was granted; however, records do not indicate the presence of Jews in Suwalki until about 1800. Possibly, the Jewish community was invited to develop economic activity as in other cities. Jews lived here for a short time and then were expelled; however, 1,209 lived there in 1827 and 13,002 in 1908. Immigration to America, Sweden, and South Africa, reduced that number to 5,811 in 1921. In 1863, Jews supported insurgents with the kahał donation of 6,000 rubles. The city was an important center of trade. At the outbreak of WWII, some Jews escaped to the Soviet Union. Others were transported to ghettos in Biala Podlaska and Łukowie. About 3,000 were shot in mass executions in Lomza area. Very few pre-war buildings exist today. [July 2009]

CEMETERY: The Catholic and Orthodox cemeteries are near the Jewish cemetery from the 19th cemetery on ul Zarzecze. Established in 1825, the Nazis vandalized the gravestones in the 3.8-ha cemetery during WWII, leaving about 20 granite and sandstone matzevot with typical decorative elements and inscriptions in Hebrew. The Nazis stole other gravestones to build a swimming pool during WWII. In the 1990s, descendants of Jews from here, led by Rabbi David Lifshitz, used fragments of recovered matzevot to build a lapidarium. A hedge surrounds the site. [July 2009]

US Commission No. AS 186

The town is located in region Sulwalskie at 54°05 22°55, 120 km from Bialystok. Cemetery: ul. Zarzecze. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Local: Grzegorz Wolagiewicz-prezydent, Urzad Miasta w Suwalkach, 16-400 Suwalki, ul. Mickiewicza 1, tel. 667667.
  • Regional: Stanislaw Tumidajewicz, Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, 16-400 Suwalki, ul. Kosciuszki 7, tel. 663742.
  • Interested: Natan Adelson, 16-400 Sulwalki, ul. Wigierska 31. Wojewodzkie Archiwum Panstwowe w Suwalkach, ul. Kosciuszki 69, tel. 662167.
  • The cemetery caretaker has the key.

The earliest known Jewish community is early 19th century; 44 Jews in 1808, 1,209 Jews in 1827. 1921 Jewish population was 5,811. This Jewish cemetery was established early in the 19th century with last known burial 1986. Landmark: Nr rej. Zabytkow region Suwalskiego-499, decyzja Kl. WKZ [mark number] 534/499/d/86 z 15.05.1968 r. The urban flat land, separate but near other cemeteries, has a sign or plaque in Polish and Hebrew mentioning Jews and the Holocaust. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with a continuous masonry wall and locking gate. The pre-and post-WWII cemetery size is 3.6 ha. 100-500 stones, 1-20 in original location and less than 25% broken or toppled, date from 1856, 1881, 1866, 1877, and 1899-20th century. The granite, limestone, or sandstone markers flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, or flat stones with carved relief decoration have Hebrew inscriptions.The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims. There are no known mass graves. The municipality owns the property used for Jewish cemetery. Adjacent property is recreational and the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic cemeteries. Occasionally, local residents and private visitors stop. It was vandalized during World War II. Jewish groups from the USA re-erected stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall, and fixed gate in the 1980s and 1990s. The cemetery has a regular, unpaid caretaker. Within the limits of the cemetery are no structures. No threats.

dr. Janusz Mackiewicz, 16-400 Suwalki, ul. 1 Maja 27a/47, tel.d.663756, completed survey on 24 Sept. 1994.

UPDATE: Secretary of the Independent Suwalk and Vicinity Benevolent Association (New York) is Lillian Faffer-New York City at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The restoration of the cemetery in Suwalki completed in 1985 was undertaken under the leadership of the late Rabbi David Lifshitz, the last Suwalki Rabbi, and funded by a collection ($15,000) from members and other interested parties. [October 2002]

Last Updated on Monday, 13 July 2009 22:28
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