The Old Jewish Cemetery In Lodz
Reviewed by Chaim Freedman, Petah
web page: http://www.avotaynu.com/gaonbook.html
March 4, 1999
Although the old Jewish community
of Lodz was decimated during the Holocaust, the new
Jewish cemetery remained intact.
This cemetery is one of the largest in Europe, comprising about 180,000
tombstones. The new cemetery was established in 1892, following the closure
of the old cemetery on ul. Wesola. The old cemetery, dating from 1811, was destroyed by the
Germans during W.W.II and by development after the war, thereby desecrating
the physical remains of the Jews who had lived in Lodz for most of the
The memory of those buried in the
old cemetery of Lodz could not be wiped out since a list of their tombstones
Right: Entrance to the Old Cemetery on ul. Wesola
Zydowski w Lodzi:
dzieje i zabytki"
(The Old Cemetery in Lodz: Records and
By Philip Friedman and
Pincus Zelig Gliksman
Published in Lodz in 1938 by Nakladem
Gminy Wyznaniowej Zydowskiej m. Lodzi
This invaluable book records those
Jews who were buried in the old cemetery in Lodz between the years 1822
The authors were prominent historians
in Poland before the Holocaust. Gliksman in particular wrote a number of
books which are of considerable value to genealogists. One example is Ir
Lask Vekhakhameiha (The City of Lask and its Wisemen), Lodz,
1926, which presents detailed biographies and familial information about
prominent personalities and families who lived in the town of Lask.
The structure of the book can be
divided into a number of sections, each providing the genealogical researcher
and historian with several types of information.
The book consists of over 500 pages,
mostly written in Polish with one Hebrew section.
Whilst a knowledge of the Polish
language certainly is beneficial in order to take advantage of and understand
all the material in the book, a basic knowledge of familial terminology
is adequate for the extraction of genealogical data found in the lists
of the deceased. A genealogist's guide to deciphering Polish records is
The first section of the book (until
page 165) is an introduction written in Polish. Names and dates may be
extracted by perusal of this section which is mainly prose, but a knowledge
of Polish is required to fully understand this section.
The second section (pp. 166-305) consists
of capsule biographies of selected people who appear in the book. There
are an estimated 300 biographies. Each biography bears a reference number
which refers to the sequential numbers in either the Polish or Hebrew lists.
These biographies are the most interesting part of the book. The subject
of the biography is presented with details of his parentage and ancestry
(where the latter is significant), his wife and her family connections,
his children and their spouses. Other details include communal activities,
occupation, rabbinical positions and compositions, with cross-references
to other relatives who may appear in the book. These biographies are in
Polish, but it is quite simple to pick out genealogical information. Should
the full content be of interest, one can seek a translator, once the relevance
of any particular biography is determined.
List of Deceased
The third section of the book (pp. 306-355)
is a Subsidiary Death Register (a chronological list in Polish of the deceased) covering the period
1826 to 1893. They are listed in chronological order of the secular date
of their death. Only the personal name and surname appears, without the
names of parents or other relatives. Of particular value is the inclusion
of the age of the deceased.
The fourth section of the book (pp.
356-393) consists of an index to all sections of the book. Grouped alphabetically
by surname, the deceased are listed with the page number where they appear
(Polish or Hebrew list), or biography. If the person is included in the
Hebrew list, the page number in the index is designated with an asterisk.
Following the index there are several
pages of biographies which were apparently omitted.
List of Deceased
The final section of the book is a Hebrew
list of tombstones in the Old Cemetery arranged chronologically according to the Hebrew calendar.
The full Hebrew name is given which includes the father's name (in most
cases). In some cases a spouse is noted, as are relationships to prominent
rabbis. For many of those in the Hebrew list, the surname is given in Polish
as is the age. The Hebrew list ends in the year 5682/1922, whereas the
Polish list ends in 1893. It should be noted that the Hebrew section of
115 pages starts from the right-hand end of the book and has a separate
page numbering sequence.
There are people
who appear in the Polish list but not in the Hebrew list and vice versa.
As is well known to genealogists who have researched Hebrew Khevrah Kaddishah records from various towns, surnames are often not included, leaving many
names in the Hebrew lists which are not identified. Despite these impediments,
the positive factors of this book as a genealogical source far outweigh
The following is an example of the wealth
of information that can be derived from this book. (Free translation from
An example of the Polish list:
No. 1286 (page 232) Jacob
Saul Berlinski, son of Lejbusza Berliner from Piotrykow, who was known
by the name "reb Lejbusz reb Tejweles." Tejwele was a son of Rabbi Hirsz
Lewin from Berlin. Tejwele settled in Piotrykow since he married the daughter
of a person from Piotrykow. Jacov Saul married the daughter of the Rabbi
of Lutermirsk, Nuty Baharjer and had 3 sons: Tewel in Lodz, Manele in Piotrykow
and Naftali Hirsz, who was a merchant in Dabie. A son of Naftali Hirsz,
Lajb Berliner, married a daughter of the Rabbi of Kalisz, Chaim Eliezer
Waks. A daughter of Lajb Berliner married a son of the Tsadik of Gory Kalvariji,
Order (per Secular
Name / Surname
|| Jankiel Jakubowicz
|| Perla Zimnowoda
|| Mendel Jagodnicki
|| Michal Neynadel
|| Hanna Pinkus
|| Ruchla Aronowiczowa
|| Sura Grosman
|| Jonas Bernsztat
|| Sura Jakubowiczowa