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 (6468%; 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 Treblinka.
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 town.
on the internet
The texts presented here were originally published in the guide Where the Tailor Was a Poet...
, by Adam Dylewski (Pascal).
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 worth seeing.
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 sharp bends.
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 Kociuszko 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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