JRI Poland #Poland New Cemetery at Lodz #poland


Jan Meisels Allen
 

I am writing wearing my IAJGS Records Access Alert editor "hat" to share
with you something I received >from Petje Schroeder and Kamila Klauzinska
both researchers in Poland. I have no further information so please do
not contact me.

The email is about the Board of the Jewish Community in Lodz terminating
as of October 1st the employment of Agnieszka and Krzysztof Tomczak as
caretakers of the Lodz New Cemetery at ul. Bracka. The email did not
give any reason for the termination of their work.

The former long-time caretaker, Mr. Karolczak died in May 2000, his
son-in-law Krzysztof Tomczak took over the responsibilities as of June
2000 and in 2003 Agnieszka joined him. They studied the Hebrew alphabet in
order to fluently read the inscriptions of the matzevot, and moreover, they
managed to find their way through the overgrown labyrinth of the largest
Jewish cemetery in Europe.

After a short period of time, the couple was able to locate any burial
site, even if there wasn't any physical evidence of a grave as often a
headstone was never put up. Searching for the grave of a client's
family member, we witnessed how Krzysztof pulled out young trees and bushes
with his bare hands to uncover a headstone that had fallen down, facing the
ground. Imagine our surprise when he then lifted the stone and the
inscription turned out to be impeccable, untouched by rain and wind, and
perfectly legible.

As a stone mason Krzysztof restored damaged headstones, created new
matzevot and memorial plaques, often designed with the help of Agnieszka.

Walking through the cemetery, both of them always kept old photos in
mind that people >from all over the world had left in the office, hoping for a
miracle that one day the burial plot of their family member would be
found.

Agnieszka and Krzysztof have always supported the idea that the
cemetery as a monument of culture should be open to the public in general
and in particular to students - for free.
If you have any questions to Agnieszka and Krzysztof Tomczak, you can
contact them at agax.tom@...

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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