Commemoration Book Chelm
(Chełm, Poland)


Translation of
Yisker-bukh Chelm

Published by the JewishGen Press
part of Yizkor Books Project of JewishGen, Inc.

Editor of Original Yizkor Book: M. Bakalczuk
Project Coordinator: Leah Z. Davidson
Layout and Name Indexing: Jonathan Wind
Cover Design: Rachel Kolokoff Hopper
Reproduction of Photographs: Sondra Ettlinger
Hard Cover, 8.5” by 11”, 628 pages with original photographs

Available from JewishGen for $42.00



The first Jews arrived in Chełm around 1205, when the town was part of the Polish state. At the beginning of the 19th century, Hasidism started to evolve in Chełm.

Before the outbreak of World War I, Jews almost completely dominated the trade in the town. The community owned one synagogue, a house of prayer, six religious schools, two mikvot and a cemetery. The kehila financially supported the orphanage and an old people's home. Between 1910 and 1914 an amateur Jewish theatre was active in the town.

During the interwar period Chełm was – after Lublin – the second largest center of the Jewish population in the Lublin Province. In 1939, Chełm had 33,622 inhabitants, including 14,995 Jews (44.6% of the total population). There were numerous Jewish social organizations in the town and five Jewish newspapers. The Jewish community in Chełm owned two synagogues, a house of prayer, 45 cheders, 2 bathhouses, 2 mikvot, an orphanage, an old people's home and a cemetery.

The gradually worsening economic situation, along with the growing anti-Semitic attitudes, resulted in emigration. The Jewish community financially supported the people who wanted to emigrate to Palestine.

In December 1939, the Germans displaced 2,000 Jews from Chełm to Sokal. By the end of 1941, Germans created a ghetto in Chełm. In May 1942, the Germans deported about 4,000 Jews to the extermination camp in Sobibór.

Only 200 Jews from Chełm survived the Holocaust. Most of them left Poland after the war. Leon Pałaszewski from Chełm was awarded the title of the Righteous Among the Nations.

This Yizkor Book serves as a memorial to all the victims of the Shoah from Chelm.


Chełm, Poland is located at 5108' N, 2330' E


Alternate names of the Town:

Chełm [Pol], Chelm [Yid], Khelm [Rus], Kholm [Ukr], Chelem, Khelem, Chołm


Nearby Jewish Communities:

Sielec 7 miles S
Sawin 10 miles NNW
Rejowiec 10 miles WSW
Świerże 12 miles ENE
Opalin, Ukraine 14 miles NE
Kraśniczyn 15 miles SSW
Wojsławice 15 miles S
Siedliszcze 15 miles WNW
Uchanie 17 miles SSE
Krasnystaw 17 miles SW
Dubienka 18 miles ESE
Cyców 19 miles NW
Osowa 20 miles N
Skryhiczyn 20 miles ESE
Skierbieszów 20 miles SSW


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