Narevker Lintel from Cemetery Gate
Narewka Home Page
Maps & Gazetteers
Historical Texts & Sources
Images: Past & Present
Jewish Cemetery (Kirkut)
Holocaust & Memorials
Family & Personal Stories
Family Pictures
Narevker Landsmanshaftn
Websites & Other Links
Photos from Narewka
August 2010
Compiled by Joy Kestenbaum
Initially created December 2010 -
Last updated Aug 2016

Copyright © 2010 - 2016
Joy Kestenbaum
JewishGen Home Page
Index to Separate Family Pages on the Narewka KehilaLinks site:

Click on image to learn
about metal plaque (shiviti)
probably from
synagogue in Narewka
in collection of POLIN
Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Poetry by Mira Łuksza
click on book cover
for poem
Bialy stok by Mira

On April 2013 visit
of Israeli students to

In Memory of
Leon Leyson
Native of Narewka
Youngest Holocaust Survivor on
Schindler's List

Watch online SHOAH Foundation's 1995 interview with Leon Leyson

Coming soon!
Narevker Untershititsungs
Ferayn: Konstitushon -  נארעווקער אונטערשטיצונג פעראיין : קאנסטיטושאן
1900 pamphlet of
New York Landsmanschaft

In Memory of Moshe Birenbaum

(13 November 1918, Narewka - 24 February 2011)

Recovered Jewish
Gravestones - New!

Recent Meeting of
Israeli and Polish
Students in Narewka
See Visits in Narewka

25 March 1911
25 March 2011
Anna Altman, victim,
native of Narewka

Take a look at the
Photo Album of the Narewka Jewish Cemetery Gravestones with Translations of

                      River Narewka bison sign Narewka Street Scene


נרבקה | נארעווקע | Наревка


This website is dedicated to the study of Jewish family history in the town of Narewka, now in Poland, but formerly in the Grodno Gubernia of the Russian Empire, and to the memory of its Jewish community.  Today, those with ancestors from Narewka live in many locations throughout the world, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, and the United States.

Narewka is located in northeastern Poland near the Belarus border; it is situated by the Narewka River, a tributary of the Narew River, and the Białowieża Forest. Before WWI,  Narewka was in the Prużany District, Grodno Gubernia, Russia.  After WWI and before WWII, Narewka was in the Bielsk Podlaski District, Bialystok Region, Poland.  Today the village is the seat of  Gmina Narewka, a rural administrative district in Powiat Hajnowski (Hajnówka County), Podlaskie Voivodeship.

  • Location: Poland, 52°50' N 23°45' E, near the east border with Belarus       
  • Other Names: Narewka, Narewka Mała [Pol], Narevka [Rus], Narevke, Narefke [Yid], Naraŭka [Bel]
  • Nearest Large Cities: Białystok (Bełostok, Byałistok) - 40 miles SE of Białystok; Bielsk Podlaski (Byelsk) - 28 miles E of Bielsk Podlaski

Maps & Gazetteers


In Memory of
Leon Leyson
(Leib Lejzon)
(15 September 1929 - 12 January 2013)

Leon Leyson
Native of Narewka,
moved to Krakow
with his family when he was nine years old.

New: Watch online:
Leon Leyson's 1995 Shoah Foundation testimony,
about his early life in Narewka, his family,
his experiences during the Holocaust and
how he was saved by Oskar Schindler.
Go to the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive Online.
You need to register online and then
search by the Leyson name or interview code 8916.

Youngest Holocaust Survivor on Schindler's List
Holocaust Survivor remembered as educator
Little Leyson, The Schindler Story

Additional Videos:
Holocaust Survivor Leon Leyson Tells His Story
Leon Leyson: A Child on Schindler's List

Leon Leyson - Schindler's List

A memoir by Leon Leyson, completed before his death,
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (August 2013)
The Boy on
                          the Wooden Box

"A posthumous Holocaust memoir from the youngest person on Oskar Schindler’s list ...
Leyson's narrative opens with glowing but not falsely idyllic childhood memories
of growing up surrounded by friends and relatives in the Polish village of Narewka
and then the less intimate but still, to him, marvelous city of Krakow."

From "The Children's War: A Guide to Books for Young Readers about World War II ..."
Review of The Boy on the Wooden Box and link to YouTube video with Leon Leyson talking about
Oskar Schindler and his life under the Nazis.


In memory of Ida Sarah Schwartz, nee Linevsky,
born in Narewka on 24 March 1919,
died in Teaneck, New Jersey, on 27 January 2013.
Her parents were David Linevsky and Tillie Ain,
whose wedding photograph from Narewka
can be seen on this website.
They emigrated to New York in 1920.
Ida was named after her grandmother, Chaya Sara Ain.
(Thanks to William Schwartz, son of Ida.)


In Memory of Moshe Birenbaum

(13 November 1918, Narewka - 24 February 2011)


In memory of Libby (Luba) Bagan Rubin,
born in Narewka in 1915 and
died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on 14 August 2011.
In 1920 she immigrated to Chicago with her parents,
Mollie (Malka,
née Linkowski) and Samuel (Simcha) Bagan.
 See her obituary in

                                Altman in Narewka Barbara, Ken and Joy at Ukrainian
                                East Village Restaurant.
Ken Altman in Narewka, the birthplace of his father, in June 2016.
He spent a few hours there, while participating in the
Eastern Europe Roots and Rebirth trip to Lithuania and Poland
organized by
YIVO and the Forward.

Barbara Kotin, Ken Altman and Joy Kestenbaum meeting
at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant in New York, August 2016, to talk
about Ken's recent trip to Lithuania and Poland and his visit to Narewka. Ken visited in June 2016, Barbara in June 2015, and Joy in August 2010.

Barbara Kotin at Holocaust memorial
                                in Zablotczyna. Ken
                                and Barbara looking at photographs from
Barbara Kotin at the memorial to the Jewish victims of Narewka
at the site of the mass grave in
Zabłotczyzna (June 2015), where several of her maternal and paternal family members were murdered.
Ken Altman and Barbara Kotin looking at photographs from Narewka  in New York (August 2016). Ken recently visited in June; Barbara went last year.

Israel Birenbaum and his family
                                  at the gravestone of his

Israel Birenbaum and his family
                                  at the memorial at the site of the
                                  mass grave.
 Israel Birenbaum and his family at the gravestone of his great-grandfather
Yehuda Aydel in Narewka in July 2015.
Israel Birenbaum and his family at the memorial at the site of the mass grave
where the Jews of Narewka were murdered.
Barbara in
                                  Birenbaum and Family in Narewka
Barbara Kotin in Narewka, the birthplace of her parents, in June 2015.
Israel Birenbaum visiting Narewka, the birthplace of his father, with his wife Shlomit, his sons Omer and Orel and his daughter Shachar, the weekend of 24-26 July 2015. It was Israel's third visit to Narewka and his family's first.
Barbara at the gravestone of her
                                grandmother Bella
Gravestone of Yaacov Dov Edelman
Barbara Kotin at the gravestone of her grandmother Bella Shapiro,
after whom she was named, during her June 2015 visit to Narewka.
Gravestone of Yaacov Dov Edelman, taken in August 2015 by Tamara Edell Gottstein, during her recent visit to Narewka. Yaacov Dov was a brother of her great-grandmother Teme Leia, after whom Tamara was named.
                                  of destroyed Jewish communities in
                                  Bialystok region from Valley of the
                                  Communities at Yad Vashem
                                        cousins (once removed) meeting
                                        in Jerusalem
                                        Rivka and Joy meeting at Cafe
David Ziants and Joy Kestenbaum (second cousins once removed),  meeting for the first time in Jerusalem during the 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 2015.
Photo of inscriptions of the destroyed Jewish communities in the Bialystok region taken during Joy Kestenbaum's visit to Valley of the Communities, Yad Vashem, during 35th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, July 2015. Narewka is the third from the bottom. © 2015 Joy Kestenbaum Barbara Kotin, Rivka Witenberg and Joy Kestenbaum meeting for lunch at Cafe Mogador in New York City, May 2015. Barbara was planning her first trip to Narewka; her parents and Rivka's father were from Narewka, the birthplace of Joy's grandfather. Rivka was visiting from Australia.
Lauren, Joy and David in Boston At
                                Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
Lauren Shulsky Orenstein, Joy Kestenbaum and
David Rosen in Boston at the 33rd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 2013. Lauren's great-grandfather, Joy's grandfather and David's father were from Narewka.

Ken Altman, Joy Kestenbaum, Barbara Kotin and Rivka Witenberg at luncheon gathering at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant in New York, November 2013. Ken's father, Barbara's parents, Rivka's father were from Narewka.
Netta in Narewka Zvika and Israel Birenbaum in
Netta Kaplan with her mother Asnat, sister Avivi and brother Tal with Angela (Aniala) and Katarzyna (Kasia) Bielawska at Bojarski Gościniec in Narewka, August 2013. Netta's paternal grandparents were from Narewka.
Zvika and Israel Birenbaum at the gravestone of their great-grandfather in the Jewish cemetery (Kirkut) during their May 2011 visit to Narewka; Israel couldn't find it when he had been there ten years earlier with his father Moshe, who was born in Narewka and died only two months before Zvika's and Israel's visit. On this trip Zvika brought Israeli students from the high school where he is the principal. He returned with students in April 2013.
Chris and Kasia at Narewka Jewish
                                cemetery Joy at memorial in Zablotczyzna
Krzysztof (Chris) Malczewski and Katarzyna (Kasia) Bielawska at the Jewish cemetery (Kirkut), taken by Joy Kestenbaum during her trip to Narewka in August 2010.
Joy Kestenbaum at memorial to the Jewish victims from Narewka at the site of the mass grave in Zabłotczyzna, taken during her visit to Narewka in August 2010. Among those murdered on 15 August 1941 by a German police battalion were her grandfather's siblings and their families.
Narewka Photographs © Joy Kestenbaum 2010

I was inspired to create these ShtetLink pages after I returned from my trip to Poland in August of 2010. The pages are dedicated to my grandparents, Benjamin and Selina Freedman, both of whom were members of the Narevker Untershtitsungs Verein in New York, and, especially, to my grandfather, who was born in Narewka, and to the memory of all of those who perished, among whom were my grandfather's siblings and their families. My extended family is living in Argentina, England, Ireland, Israel, and at least eight states in the United States. I was named after my great-grandmother Chaya, the wife of Shepsel, from whom we are all descended.

Chaya Faigel Frydman, c. 1900
Chaya Faigel

Please contact Joy Kestenbaum for comments or contributions. 
Compiled by Joy Kestenbaum (
Initially created December 2010 - Last updated September 2016
Copyright © 2010-2016 Joy Kestenbaum
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Thanks to Katarzyna (Kasia) Bielawska, Tomasz (Tomek) Wisniewski, Krzysztof (Chris) Malczewski, Lucja (Lucy) Lisowska, Dorota Michaluk, Mark Heckman, Jose Gutstein, Irit Gafni-Pinchovski, Leo Greenbaum, Yale J. Reisner, Anna Przybyszewska Drozd, Steven Lasky, Mira  Łuksza; David Feldman, David Barton, Barbara Kotin, Batya Dashefsky, David Rosen, Jacque Caplan, Lauren Shulsky Orentein, Chaya Pressburger, Phillip Schreibman, Martin Jacobs, Donna Dubinsky, Tsipi Nimrod, Israel and Zvika Birenbaum, Barry Cohen, Barry Traub, Elmer Shapiro, William Schwartz, Rivka Witenberg, Netta Kaplan, Shay Fogelman, Tamara Edell Gottstein, Ken Altman and others descended from families from Narewka and nearby villages; Leon Leyson, who provided me with some of his childhood memories of my family in Narewka; members of my extended family, David Ziants and Rachel Hinterstein, and especially my mother and aunt, the late Rae Kestenbaum and Mona Brockman. The JewishGen Family Finder has helped to connect those with an interest in Narewka, as did Dan Jacob's email discussion group that started in the late 1990s.

The photographs and documents on the Narewka JewishGen ShtetLinks website may not be copied or used in any form without permission of the contributor, owner and/or copyright holder of the image. They are the property of the person or the institution that has given permission for their publication exclusively on this website.

This site is hosted at no cost by JewishGen, Inc., the Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you have been aided in your research by this site and wish to further our mission of preserving our history for future generations, your JewishGen-erosity is greatly appreciated.

Do Not Miss - Important Audio-Video files on the Narewka ShtetLink Pages:

Song written by Zvika Birenbaum, Principal of Adar School, Israel,
together with his students, soon after their visit to Narewka in May 2011
Leon Leyson Tells His Story - 2010 Lecture at the Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

To Complete the Circle - Documentary about David Barton's 2009 visit to Narewka
Snila me sie Hana (I Dreamed of Hana) - 1999 Award-winning Polish documentary filmed in Narewka with interviews with Slavic Orthodox residents who reminisce about their former Jewish neighbors
Sylvia Effron Dashefsky's 1997 Ellis Island Oral History