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TRACES OF THE PAST

Rymanow


Tourist Attractions
The church of St Lawrence from 1779-1781 (with the interior Renaissance tomb of the Siemienski family, ca 1580); the country mansion with a steward's house and a landscape park from the first half of the 19th century. The history of the spa is shown in the Dr J. Bielecki Memorial Chamber.
Rymanow is one of the oldest Jewish centres in the Podkarpacie region. Settlement here was closely linked to the lucrative business of importing wine from Hungary. Local Jews became so involved in their work that in 1594 the Diet of the Four Lands warned them not to drink to excess, or otherwise they would be banned from trading. They must have been effective traders as they were an economic threat to nearby Krosno. This neighbouring town dealt with the competition in a rather original way. In 1700 the councillors of Krosno passed the following resolution: "It is not apunishable offence to rob or kill a Jew from Rymanow".

The view of Rymanow, photo

Rymanow achieved fame as alarge centre of Chasidism, chosen as headquarters first by the tzaddik Menachem Mendel (d. 1815), disciple of the great Elimelech of Lezajsk, and then by Cwi Hirsz Kohen (d. 1846).


Izydor Izaak Rabi (1898-1988) was born in Rymanow and received the Nobel Prize in physics (1944) for achievements in the field of research into the magnetic properties of atoms. He spent only one year in the place of his birth as in 1899 his parents emigrated to New York. He was one of the creators of the atom bomb, collaborating with Bohr, Pauli, Stern and Heisenberg. Although his whole life was associated with America and Columbia University in New York, he never forgot his roots and visited Rymanów in 1971.

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The Synagogue
Accounts vary as to when this historic monument was bulit. Some sources say it was at the turn of the 17th century, others mention the turn of the 18th century. This structure, built in fluvial stone and now roofless, has lain in ruin since the Second World War. Brick pillars in the middle indicate where the bimah once was. One can also see the recess for the aron ha-kodesh (with traces of inscriptions in Hebrew) as well as damaged wall-paintings less than ahundred years old, depicting animals, including an eagle and aleopard. There is arather curious representation of the Palace of David. As Andrzej Potocki suggests in Podkarpackie Judaica (Judaica in the Podkarpacie Region): "The artist most probably took the picture from apostcard. He thought that he was painting the Palace of David, whereas in fact it was the Carmelite convent in Jerusalem".

The most eye-catching element is the tower which may once have been used as aprison. The Jewish quarter was spread out around the synagogue. Here one could find the palace of rabbis, the cheder, therefuge, thehospital and themikvah situated by the river. Everything was destroyed by the Nazis.

The synagogue, photo

From the main square take ul. Kilinskiego. You will see the synagogue about 100 metres down on the left hand side, just behind the marketplace. The synagogue is in such astate of disrepair that visitors are not allowed inside.

The Jewish Cemetery
Another of Rymanów's attractions is the cemetery (still referred to here in Old Polish as "the place where the hay is raked up") containing oholot raised in the late 1980s, belonging to its two most pious sons, Menachem Mendel and Cwi Hirsz Kohen. Numerous kvitlech bear testimony to the fact that these graves are adestination for pilgrims. The cemetery is also the resting-place of tzaddik Joseph Ha-Kohen (d. 1913), son of Cwi Hirsz. Here one can also find the graves of two of the rabbis of Rymanow: Hiroch Kohen (d. 1844) and Jozef Friedmann. The remains of Hirsz Horowitz, the last rabbi of Rymanow, were exhumed around the year 1960 and taken to Israel. The grave of Austrian soldiers of Mosaic faith who fell during the First World War is also worth a look.
On the hill from the Posada Gorna side, about 200 metres from the Catholic cemetery. At the end of the Jewish cemetery turn left towards the clearly visible telegraph pole. Just behind it you will see two well-maintained ohelim.

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Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Mokotowska 25, 00-560 Warsaw tel. (48-22) 44 76 100,
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