The Lodz Chevra Kadisha Indexing Project

Sample Indices


At the 2000 Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Salt Lake City, JRI-Poland announced plans for a new initiative to index the Lodz Chevra Kadisha (Burial Society) records, which includes the burial records of the Old Cemetery in Lodz. This project is now underway.

The Old Lodz Cemetery was established in 1811 and essentially closed in 1892. However, burials continued to take place until 1922 because a number of burial plots had been previously purchased and because it became necessary to utilize the cemetery during World War I.

The Lodz Chevra Kadisha records include the more than 5,400 deaths listed in Stary Cmentarz Zydowski w Lodzi (The Old Cemetery of Lodz), published by the Jewish Community of Lodz in 1938. The authors, noted historians Philip Friedman and Rabbi Pinchas Gliksman, had no way of knowing how invaluable their efforts would become: within a year, the Nazis had invaded Lodz and, during the course of the occupation, removed the gravestones from the Old Lodz Cemetery for use as paving stones. The exact number of burials or gravestones in the Old Lodz Cemetery is not known. For a complete description of the contents of Stary Cmentarz Zydowski w Lodzi, see The Old Cemetery in Lodz, by Chaim Freedman.

JRI-Poland has taken on this indexing project with the enthusiastic support of Mr. Symcha Keller, head of the Jewish Community of Lodz. The much larger New Lodz Cemetery, established in 1892, survived nearly intact and planning for the indexing of the burial records of the New Lodz Cemetery is underway. More than 180,000 indices to these burials will be added to the JRI-Poland searchable database in the near future.

Tombstones in the old cemetery of Lodz

Above: During World War II, the Nazis removed the gravestones from the old Lodz cemetery for use as paving stones.

The Chevra Kadisha records are made up of two separate lists, each with its own numbering system. The first list is the Polish Subsidiary Death Register, 1826-1893, containing  2,034 entries. This list includes the individual’s surname, given name, age, day, month and year of death. In some instances a maiden surname is included. Only adults ages 16 and over are included in this list. The registry numbers begin with #3412 and are preceded by a “P”. 

The Hebrew List of Burials, 1822-1922, is a record of 3,411 individuals whose graves were marked with gravestones in the Old Lodz Cemetery. This list contains the same information as in the Polish list, with the addition of the father’s name, and whether the individual was a kohen or levy. As a rule, children’s graves were not marked with gravestones in the Old Lodz Cemetery. However, the exceptions to this rule are included in the data. Registry numbers begin with #1, end with #3411, and are preceded by an “H”. Occasionally an individual may be included in both the Hebrew and Polish lists.

Above: The cover of a record book of the Lodz Chevra Kadisha, from Stary Cmentarz Zydowski w Lodzi.

The Lodz Chevra Kadisha Indexing Project should be of interest to anyone with Jewish roots in the Lodz region. As a result of the great influx of workers to Lodz in the 19th century, records include not only individuals who were born and lived in Lodz proper, but also those with roots in many regional Polish villages and towns. Some of the records in the Hebrew and Polish lists may coincide with data already in the JRI-Poland database and will provide additional valuable information for anyone researching their family in this region.

Indexing Method

The first phase of this project, indexing of the Polish Subsidiary Death Register, 1826-1893, has been completed and added to the JRI-Poland searchable database. Data entry was done by Shirley Rotbein Flaum and proofreading by Morris Wirth. 

The data was first entered from the original text in Stary Cmentarz Zydowski w Lodzi. Feminine surname suffixes such as “ówna” and “owa” were removed and the feminine suffix “a” altered. Alternate surname spellings were  added, where deemed necessary by experts consulted or by the fact that an alternate spelling may have been found in the index of the book. Known typographical errors in the original data were corrected.

list of unique surnames taken from the data is available.

The second phase, indexing of the Hebrew List of Burials, 1822-1922, is now in progress. Hebrew-speaking volunteers are in the process translating entries and verifying Hebrew dates. The dedicated volunteers involved with this second phase are: Gilbert Hendlisz, Shmuel Kehati, Sarah Lasry, Yaacov Lipkin, Hanoch Magal and Israel Pickholtz. Look for this new database to be online by approximately June 1, 2001. For further information, contact Shirley Rotbein Flaum.

Sample Indices

Polish Subsidiary Death Register, 1826-1893

SurnameGiven Name(s)YearRegistry NumberDate of DeathAgeMaiden Name

Hebrew List of Burials, 1822-1922

NOTE: v = “vel” or “also known as”

SurnameGiven NameYearRegistry NumberDate (Civil –  to be added)Date (Hebrew)AgeMaiden SurnameFather’s NameNotes (Levite or Kohen refer to male or Father)
 Simchah1822H1  10 Av 5582  Moshe 
ROGOZINSKIRachel1825H2 17 Tammuz 558525 Menachemwife of the baker
 Moshe1826H3 28 Sivan 5586  Rabbi Zev WolfKohen; grandson of Mikhal Ka”tz
JEROZOLIMSKIAharon1828H4 3 or 23 Av 55889 Rabbi Menachem ZevKohen; born in 5578
ZONENBERGPinchas1830H5 17 Adar 559056 Naftali TzviKohen; died on Friday
 Miryam1830H6 7 Tishrei 5591  BerelLevite
PINKUSBeila1831H7 5 Av 5591  Shlomoh 
 Shimshi1832H8 26 Av 5592  Yehuda 
ZOLNIERSKI v ARONOWICZShlomoh1833H9 28 Tevet 5593  Aharon 
 Rivkah1834H10 4 Tishri 5595  Avraham 
 Rivkah1836H11 15 Elul 5596    
 Chanah1837H12 5597  Avraham 
DOBRZYNSKIElimelekh1836H13 14 Cheshvan 559736 Natan 
ROGOZINSKIMoshe1836H14 28 Kislev 5597  Tzvi HerschKohen; 4th day of Chanuka
FAJTLOWICZMoshe1837H15 25 Elul 559770 Ezriel 
GOTSCHALLOzer1837H16 19 Tishri 5598  Yehuda 
BRONOWSKIYehuda Leib1837H17 25 Tishri 559867 Yedidyah 
PILGRIMAvraham1838H18 29 Kislev 559970 Shmuel 
 Shlomoh1839H19 3 Tishrei 5600  Yakovday after Rosh Hashana
HEBERBetzalel Yehuda1839H20 15 Shvat 560066 YakovLevite
LIPSKIYitzchak1840H21 Adar I 560072   
 Lieba Mariyam1840H22 29 Sivan 5600  YehudaRosh Hodesh Tammuz eve
 Gelleh1840H23 24 Cheshvan 5601  Shmuel 
WAJLANDMeshulam Feivel Shalom1841H24 15 Shvat 560120 Rabbi Shimonfrom Leczyca
LEWKOWICZBreina1841H25 12 Nisan 5601  Avraham 
NAUMBERGEster1842H26 4 Elul 560240 Rabbi PinchasKohen
 Ester1842H27 12 Elul 5602  ZevKohen
KOHENYehuda Leib1843H28 24 Shvat 5603  Rabbi NaftaliKa”tz-Kohen; descendant of Rabbi Naftali Head of Beit Din of Poznan
GUTENBERGYokheved1843H29 Iyar 560321FRENKELShmuelSega”l-Levite; from Kalisz
TRYBOWNIKRabbi Rafael Yakov1843H30 13 Cheshvan 560430 Hersch, of Piotrkowmurdered on Monday
Surviving records less than 100 years old are held in the Civil Records Offices (Urzad Stanu Cywilnego) of each town.

For information on the 20th century records available for your town, visit the Routes to Roots Foundation website, click on the ‘SEARCH DATABASE’ button (on the right side) and enter the town name. Look for the town name in the Repository/City column of the search results. There are typically links to lists of available births, marriage and death records for the town.

Note, however, the Routes to Roots Foundation database may indicate turn of the century records that have already been transferred to the appropriate branch of the Polish State Archives where they can be indexed for the JRI-Poland database.