The parish church in the main square (1779-1782) designed by S.B.
Zug; the A. Jabłonowska palace (1780) designed by S.B. Zug, remodelled
in 1840 by H. Marconi; the geometric landscape park around the palace
complex; the cemetery of the Polish soldiers fallen in the last battle
of the Second Polish Republic between 2nd and 5th May 1939, and the
grave of their commander, general F. Kleeberg (d. 1941), who was laid to
rest here in 1969.
Jewish settlement began here relatively late, at the beginning of
the 17th century. Two events brought fame to this little town situated
far away from the flow of history: the battle with the Austrians in 1809
and the arrival of Menachem Mendel Morgenstern in 1829. In the 20th
century Jews made up thelarge majority of the local population (64'68%;
about 2,500 people). They worked as traders, tailors, hat-makers and
shoemakers. During the Second World War the Germans set up alocal
ghetto. Its inhabitants were then deported to the concentration camp at
The Ohel of Menachem Mendel Morgenstern
Little remains of the Kock cemetery, although the area is fenced off
and well maintained. The ohel of Menachem Mendel Mongerstern, on which
renovation work was carried out in the 1990s, is the most important site
and adestination for pilgrims to this very day. Apart from the grave of
this well-known tzaddik, you will also find stone fragments lying here
and there in the grass. They are characteristic remains of matzevot made
of granite blocks. People say that before the war the cemetery
caretaker was alocal German.
Getting there takes 25 minutes. Starting from Plac Jablonowskiej,
walk along ul. Hanki Sawickiej to the roadside shrine of St John the
Baptist and then follow the route marked in red. The monument is locked.
The key can be obtained from Mr Roman Stasiak, afarmer living in the
first house behind the cemetery. He takes care of the cemetery, repairs
ohelim and cuts the grass.
Kotzker Chasidim The Chasidim of Kock, first established as
acommunity in 1829, based themselves on the teachings of Menachem Mendel
Morgenstern, who they recognised as the first tzaddik. In 1830 they
supported the November Uprising, supplying the Polish armies with shoes,
clothes and food. After the death of their leader, alarge part of them
changed their alliegance to the dynasty from Gora Kalwaria. Afew
remained with the Morgernstern family and the new tzaddik David
(1809-1873). Kotzker Chasidim also supported the January Uprising. Their
positive stance on Polish independence was described by Józef Opatoszu
in his novel In the Forests of Poland (also entitled: Jews in the
Struggle for the Independence of Poland), made into afilm by Jonasz
Turkow in 1929. Chaim Israel Morgernstern (1840-1905), who then moved to
Pulawy, was the third tzaddik of Kock. Chaim Israel's successor was
Moses Mordechai (1862-1929), domiciled in Warsaw between 1914 and 1929.
The last tzaddik, once again with headquarters in Kock, was Josef
Morgenstern, who perished on 9 September 1939 during an air-raid on the
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Tzaddik Morgenstern's House
Alarge number of pre-war houses characteristic of Jewish towns of
Eastern Poland have been preserved in Kock. You can see some of them on
the way to tzaddik Morgenstern's house. The tourist route goes from Plac
Jablonowskiej (the main square) along ul. 1 Maja (the path is marked in
black) to the second turning, ul. Wojska Polskiego. Here you should go
left and having passed two characteristic wooden houses, at ul. Wojska
Polskiego 30 and 32, you will come to arather striking building which
architecturally is anything but typical. It brings to mind aPolish manor
house combined with apeculiar corner tower, and is the only one of its
kind in the whole country. The locals reckon that this is where tzaddik
Menachem Mendel bricked himself in. Historical sources prove only that
after 1924 the house belonged to Joseph Morgenstern who was pronounced
tzaddik of the Kotzk Chasidim in 1929.
The Grave of Berek Joselewicz (Yoselevich)
Another walk you may wish to take from Plac Jablonowskiej goes along
ul. Berka Joselewicza (the tourist route marked in green). There you
will see the grave of Berek Joselewicz, which is situated in the village
of Bialobrzegi, outside the boundaries of Kock. It is quite ahike but
worth it, even just to see the row of old houses (all of them in ul.
Joselewicza; the most typical being numbers 11, 25, 27, 41, 46 and 90).
The picturesque surroundings and the unusual roadside shrines are also
The monument to Berek Joselewicz consists of two boulders surrounded
by afence. The higher one, put there more recently, gives only his
first name, surname and two dates. The lower one is from 1909 and was
funded by Count Edward Zoltowski. The fading inscription reads: "Berek
Joselewicz, Józef Berkowel Berkowicz, born in Kretinga in Lithuania.
Polish Army colonel, squadron leader of the 5th Regiment of the Mounted
Fusiliers of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, knight of the crosses of the
Legion of Honour and of Virtuti Militari. He died in the Battle of Kock
in 1809. Here he lies. Neither with trick nor with drink but with blood
his fame did link. On the centenary of his death. 1909".
The grave is situated under alimetree on the right side of the local
road from Kock to Bialobrzegi, 50 paces from the road sign indicating
Berek Joselewicz (1760-1809) spent some time in Paris, where he
witnessed the outbreak of the French Revolution. He returned to Poland
and when the Kosciuszko Insurrection took place, Joselewicz, driven by
the concepts of brotherhood and equality, suggested to general
Ko'ciuszko that aJewish cavalry regiment should be formed to support the
Polish troops. This unit, numbering 500 volunteers, fought in the
Insurrection and its presence in the Polish ranks was of extraordinary
significance for the image of Jews in the eyes of Poles. After the
collapse of the uprising, Joselewicz emigrated from Poland and was
amember of the Polish legions in Italy. He returned to his homeland with
Napoleon's troops and took command of two squadrons in the army of
Prince Poniatowski. His son, Yosek Berkowicz (1789-1846) also fought for
independence. During the November Uprising he persuaded Jewish soldiers
from the Russian army to come over to the Polish side and made attempts
at the creation of Jewish front line units.
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