Europe 2012 – Day 4 – Small Towns

Today was the reason I really needed a rental car. I visited my ancestral towns.

From Lomza, I headed south through Zambrow where I found what is left of the Jewish cemetery. Some of my Rutki ancestors were likely buried there, from what I’ve read.

Zambrow Jewish Cemetery

I drove on to Rutki, where my Mularzewicz family is from. Going farther back in the family line, some were born at other nearby small towns too.

In Rutki, I looked for the building that used to be the synagogue. My difficulty was because the address was on one street but the building was set so far back that they’d changed the access to the other street. I spoke to a couple men for a few minutes. My cousin had been there a week earlier and they had the family names written down.

Former Synagogue of Rutki

With my limited Polish, it wasn’t a long conversation. After messing with my cell phone for a minute, one man waved me back in and spoke some English after all. He told me where to find a memorial. I’d previously found GPS coordinates online that were far from correct. Whenever I think of the expression “off the beaten path”, I will now think of this location.

Memorial to Jews Killed by Nazis

Onward to Wizna, driving the minor roads, I went through Grady Woniecko, the earliest known birthplace of a relative in that family.

In Wizna, where my Kurlenders were from, I had other minor setbacks. I was not able to find online the location of the former synagogue and the GPS coordinates I had for the cemetery were far off too. I didn’t feel up to asking the locals. At least in Rutki, I had some information to build on.

Another minor road took me farther north to Jedwabne, and another memorial at a Jewish massacre site, right across from the Jewish cemetery.

Memorial to Jews of Jedwabne

Back in Lomza, I visited the Jewish cemeteries, first the older and smaller one, then I found the secret back way into the newer one. But the weeds were tall and thick and I didn’t feel comfortable walking such a distance through them by the end of the day, so I took some general and far away pictures.

Back at my hotel, I fell asleep quickly. I guess the lack of sleep finally caught up to me a bit. Now, if the WordPress app would cooperate more, these blog posts would be even easier. I’m sorry to write that if future posts give me as much trouble as this one, they may be without photos until I return home. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

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