First records concerning Jews in Dubiecko come from 1622 and notify a tenant named Lewko. Their further history is not documented very well. At the beginning Jews from Dubiecko were placed under the command of kehilla in Przemyśl. In the mid of the 18 th century there was already separated confession community that owned a cemetery and a synagogue. The second one was demolished in 1799 due to lack of permission for construction. In 1765 there were 116 Jews living here. Their number grew gradually; in 1880 there were 666 Jews and in 1921 general census noticed 977 people of Jewish descent. For many years Jews constituted approximately 50% of all inhabitants and at the same time they dominated trade and crafts.

Ideas of Hassidism had great influence in Dubiecko. Local Jews were followers of tzadik Cwi Elimelech from Błażejowa and tzadik Szalom from Bełza. For some time Cwi Elimelech Szapiro (1758 - 1841), pupil of Menachem Mendel from Rymanów and founder of famous tzadik dynasty from Dynów was a rabbi in Dubiecko. Tzadik Cwi Elimelech was against progressive movements in Judaism and at the same time he praised Kabbalah.

The town was seriously damaged during the WW I. Russian army plundered the town including Jewish property. Many Jewish soldiers did not come back after the war staying in Austria and Germany while a part of Jews emigrated to America . In November 1918 local peasants plundered shops owned by Jews.

The WW II brought destruction to shtetl in Dubiecko. Just after the Nazis occupied the town, they burnt out the prayer house and in October 1939 the second synagogue was pulled apart. In November Jews were expelled to the other side of the San river , to areas taken by the Red Army. Deportation was carried out in very brutal way - Jews were allowed to take only small piece of baggage and during the transport many of them were severely beat. Some of them drowned in the river. After entering Soviet occupation zone refugees were robbed by Ukrainian peasants.

After aggression of Hitler's Germany against Soviet Union some exiled Jews came back to the town. Almost all of them were gradually murdered during executions in Dubiecko and surrounding areas.

Jewish cemetery in Dubiecko is situated in the north part of the town about 300 m from the main market square. During the WW II Nazis organized many mass executions of Jews there. The biggest one took place on the 24 th June 1942 when about 80 people were shot. Nazis almost completely destroyed cemetery using tombstones to harden roads. Till present only single pieces of matzevot survived.

Text: K. Bielawski
Photos: Grzegorz Sowa
Translated by: Katarzyna Nocek