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[Page 37]

The Old Cemetery

Yacov Fleisher

Translated by Chaim Laufer

The old cemetery is situated on a large square, which on three sides, east, north and west bordered with side streets and on the fourth side, the south side bordered with the main street which the synagogue was on. There was the market for logs on that street as well.

There was a short stone fence, which was built by a wealthy man, Moshe Hauser, which was only visible from two sides, east and north. From the other sides, west and south, it was surrounded by wooden homes, whose windows faced the cemetery.

This cemetery, which was called the Old Cemetery, because for many years (approximately 150-200 years), no burials took place there. It is assumed that the cemetery was established a short time after the community was established in Dzikow, because in Polish history, we find that the Jews of Dzikow, brought the deceased for burial to Barnow, or Czomier. The old cemetery was evidence that the Jewish community was present before the city of Tarnzobreg was formally established.

In our times, there wasn't even one whole monument left, and the few small stones that remain were all broken and it was difficult to read the script on them. And of course the wooden monuments that were left there were all rotten and were left lying on the graves, and their scripts were even more difficult to read. As well there were no graves visible and everything was covered with wild grass and trees.

It also important to note that the new cemetery was filled to capacity with graves, before WWII the Jewish community bought a plot of land near the new cemetery in order to expand.

As mentioned above, there were houses whose windows faced the cemetery. Children learned in the Hebrew school (Cheder), taught by the best teacher, Yehoshua Meir Klein (who of the children did not learn by this teacher) one window of the Cheder faced the cemetery. The children spent a lot of time, especially in the summer, in the cemetery; it was a good place to play, because no one would disturb them. During recess, the students would jump through the window of the Cheder to the cemetery and played there until the teacher called them to return to class.

On Tisha B'Av, the saddest day of the Jewish Year, the day of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash (Jewish Temple), the custom is to visit cemeteries. People used to go through the gate (because that was the only day the gate was open) and look for old monuments. Everyone tried to find the oldest date on the monuments. Every year we would stop at a particular place, a small hill, which was believed to hold the graves of the ten martyrs of Dzikow, who were burned alive by the order of the Grafina, during the blood libel.

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