TRAVEL with pat and lew

* the Polish shtetl of Tykocin … synagogue, homes, mass murder of Jews

Posted by Lew Weinstein on July 5, 2012

Today we visited the magnificent 16th century synagogue in the former shtetl of Tykocin. Surrounding the synagogue and spreading through the small town are many still-existing pre-WWII homes that housed the 2,500 Jews who comprised 50% of the population of Tykocin on August 25, 1941. Until that day they were a vibrant community full of the joy and learning of Polish Jewry. Two days later they were gone.

the 16th century synagogue in Tykocin & the former shtetl homes nearby


The only recognition of the Jews 400 year presence in the town of Tykosin (aside from the synagogue itself) is the small sign outside the cemetery at the edge of town.


All but 150 of the 2,500 Jews who lived in Tykocin were murdered by the Nazis on August 26 & 27, 1941. For a description of this mass murder and the questions this raises for my novel-in-progress, see the related post on my author blog …


6 Responses to “* the Polish shtetl of Tykocin … synagogue, homes, mass murder of Jews”

  1. yvonne said

    My family were those that survived. The turek family had 5 sons 4 survived from tykocin

    • Lew Weinstein said


      Thank you for your comment. What was it like there before the Nazis arrived? Were there difficulties between the Jews and Poles? When we were there, there was little recognition of Jews beyond the synagogue.

      I am writing a novel set in Germany and Poland during the Nazi years. My main Polish character comes from Ciechanow, which is where my grandparents lived.


      • yvonne said

        Apparently my grat grand father, Avraham Turek, married to Sara Turek, was deputy mayor in Tykocin with the non jewish person being hte Mayor. He was highly respected and helped creat the fire brigade. His family home was immediately adjacent to the synagogue now being converted into Villa Regent.

        During the war the Russians invaded into Tykocin first and here my grandfather was imprisioned for 2/3 years as a Zionist (political prisonor) while his family (my mother uncle, grandmother and Avraham and sarah) were sent to siberia. Ironically this saved ther lives (my grnadmother though dies there from Typhus)

        One of hte brothers Misha Turek who was hte lcoal doctor survived in hiding as many of he poles there had respected him as the doctor.

        His wife and child were not so lucky and they were gathered in the small square and trucked to the forest nereby and shot into previously dug open graves. This happened in 1941 so after that there were no jews left in Tykocin (previously 50% of the town was Jewish)


      • Lew Weinstein said

        We saw the site in the forest where the Germans murdered the Jews of Tykocin. There is a small memorial. …

      • Lew Weinstein said

        YVONNE … We visited the site where the Germans murdered the Jews … … Even now, so hard to believe. LEW

  2. John Puig said

    And God was silent.

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