The Abandoned Cemetery

Andy Romanoff
Oct 11, 2016 · 3 min read

In October 2014 my wife and I went to the town of Stawiski in Poland to visit the place my mother and the Brozozowska/Barron family had come from. Stawiski is a small town about three hours from Warsaw, on the road from Lomza to Bialystock. It is surrounded by farmland and far from the cities. We traveled to Stawiski with Hubert Pawlik, a Polish guide from Warsaw who was familiar with the area. Hubert helped us find the abandoned Jewish cemetery outside of Stawiski.

The road runs from Lomza towards Stawiski. Near the town is an unmarked spot, the Jewish Cemetery

Once parked you walk out into the fields. The cemetery has long been abandoned. There are no markings to guide you but the location is peaceful. Everything is soft and green and just a few feet away a small stream flows.

You walk to the top of a small rise and looking down you can see what remains of the cemetery

The stones are scattered and broken but the sense of place remains. Clearing away the overgrowth you can see the stones with their Hebrew or Yiddish lettering

For the most part they are unreadable but the stones are living proof we were there

And even when the stones are buried they still tell their story

We are not the only ones who visit. Someone has come and left a memorial candle, but there is no way to know for who or when they came

There is no one to talk to and nothing to learn about my family, only the context they lived in. Nonetheless, walking back to the car I turn and take one more look. I know I will not forget. Somewhere in this dirt rests the family I come from.

Authors note — In October 2014 my wife and I drove to Stawiski, a small town in Northeastern Poland to see where my mother and the rest of the Brozozowska/Barron family had come from. Located between Lomza and Bialystock, Stawiski is about three hours from Warsaw. We traveled to Stawiski with Hubert Pawlik, a Polish guide from Warsaw who was familiar with the area and a great help in finding our way.

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Stories I've Been Meaning to Tell You

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Andy Romanoff

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Stories I've Been Meaning to Tell You

Stories, pictures and ruminations about life, photography, adventures on the road, my friends and the times we all are sharing

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