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  II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Marii Konopnickiej w Zamościu  
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"To Bring Memory Back" edition 2005-2006

NOWY ZMIGROD - Schools of M. Kopernik


Who are we

NOWY ZMIGROD - Schools of M. Kopernik

What we do in the project

Students from the Mikołaj Kopernik Complex of Schools decided to take care of the cultural heritage of former Jewish inhabitants of Nowy Żmigród. For over three hundred years Jews formed an important part of the community in the Żmigród region. They started to settle here in the beginnings of the 17th century, while Żmigród was a private town. Soon, the stone synagogue was built and in the middle of the 17th century an estimated 700 Jews inhabited the town. Most of them were traders. Unfortunately, the rapid development and growing wealth of Jewish minority, combined with living in an isolated community, became the source of the increasing antagonism between Poles and Jews.

With the outbreak of World War II Nazis destined all Polish Jews to perish. Majority of Żmigród Jews were murdered in July 1942 in the Hałbowski Forest near Krępna. About 40-50 people were killed at the local Jewish cemetery. The remaining ones were deported to death camps in Bełżec and Płaszów.
The foregoing information is only a little part of a long and rich history of Jews from Nowy Żmigród.
We want our students, as well as the local community, to be aware of these facts, because the memory of what had happened here should prevail in people’s hearts for eternity. The following generations must not forget about the past, which is painful, but at the same time authentic. The Jewish heritage is a significant part of our local history.

We have already collected much information about this particular minority, among them rare photographs, copies of some documents, short reports and articles from local newspaper “The Żmigród Region” concerning our research.

Very important part of our activity is to interview people who still remember times when Jews were living in this region. In our archives, we have several stories about their rich culture and customs of the everyday life. We are also looking for memoirs written by Jews, the essential one for us came from Nathan Laks, who was born and grew up in our town.

In November, we cleaned up the Jewish cemetery, catalogued it and made some photographs to commemorate this place. The size of the cemetery is 0.2 ha and it is the same as it was before the World War II. There are approximately 200 headstones originating from 18th, 19th and 20th century, most of them in unchanged position. The gravestones are made of smoothed sandstone with the inscriptions in Hebrew, several have carved ornaments. In January we once again came to the cemetery, this time to polish some headstones. The effects of our work can be seen on a school exhibition.

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