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Hebrew Cemetery

A Statement on Behalf of the Pokross, Karnowsky, and Pritzker Families by Aaron Ginsburg, grandson of Jacob and Sarah Pokross

the statement may be downloaded as a pdf. See the bottom of the page.

Antisemitism is an abstraction until you are directly affected. The Hebrew Cemetery in Fall River was targeted by antisemites, probably on March 16, 2019. Fifty-nine headstones were either defaced with antisemitic graffiti or toppled over. This included graffiti on three stones of the Pokross family, of Israel and Lillie, of my grandparents Jacob and Sarah(Karnowsky), and of Esther M. (Gabinsky) Pokross, and of Barney Pritzker. They were all immigrants to this country At least nineteen Pokross family members are buried there. 

The Pokross family settled in Fall River, New York and New Jersey over 100 years ago from Gorodishche, now in Cherkassy Oblast, Ukraine. The Karnowsky/Kaye family from Hnativka, Ukraine, near Kiev, and settled in settled in Greater Pawtucket, RI. Both are large extended families. The Pritzker family settled in Fall River and NJ.

We are in pain. We feel that we have been personally attacked. Although we hope that we can learn something from this attack, the wound is still raw.

Heinrich Heine said, “First they burn books, then they burn people.”  A headstone is a short book. Ever present in our minds is the Holocaust, when many of our relatives were murdered, some by bullets, some by gas, and, yes, some by fire. 

If you go today to Hnativka, the Jewish cemetery is a field, rapidly turning into a neighborhood of suburban Kiev. Sometime after the Jewish community, which was 90% of the population, left after a 1921 pogrom, the cemetery was plowed under as were most of the houses.

In the Gorodishche Jewish cemetery, hundreds of fragments of headstones litter the ground. During Soviet times, a road was built over part of the cemetery. 

The damage to the stones reflects the damage to our hearts. Both will be repaired. But both the stones and our hearts will remember.

“My grandparents’ grave was one of the defaced stones. My heart was broken before I knew theirs was amongst those defaced with a marker. Now the pain is even deeper. Thank you Fall River police for taking this seriously.” Syrel Dawson, granddaughter of Israel and Lillie

“Would you be angry if this happened to your Family? Pokross & Pritzker are my Grandparents family. My Grandmother Anna Pokross Pritzker was born in Fall River. I was named after Esther Pokross.” Judy Wien, great great-grand-daughter of Esther Gabinsky Pokross and great niece of Barney Pritzker, both stones defaced.

“I am of mixed feelings whether it would be better to remove the defacing or to leave it as a reminder of this mindless act. Israel [Pokross] was my grandfather.” Jay Leavitt

On behalf of Jay Leavitt, James Leavitt, Lois Kimelman, Judy Wien, Diane Knopf, Susan Stone, Syrel Dawson, Alan Flam and Judy Seminoff, Ellen Semonoff  Karen Pokross, David Fisher, Marcia Haber, Jay Lasky, Sarah Cline, Rebecca Kislak, Josh Posner, Linda Silverstein, Marjorie K. and Remmie Brown, Laura and David Kerstein, Amy Perry and 100s of other Pokross, Pritzker, and Karnowsky family members

Aaron Ginsburg aaron.ginsburg@gmail.com 617 640 0606 or 781-269-1492


Jewish Fall River Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/jewishfallriver/

list of desecrated stones http://www.frtemplebethel.org/Desecrated-Gravestones-Fall-River.pdf  #55 last name is Pokross, some are not in alphabetical order.

photos of defaced stones by Aaron Ginsburg my photos not all damaged, not complete  


Photos of defaced Pokross, Karnowsky and Pritzer stones. https://photos.app.goo.gl/X9ZftQFQTfB1tQNy5

  photos, Esther Miriam Pokross, Esther Pokross detail, Barney Pritzker, Jacob and Sara Karnowsky Pokross, Jacob and Sara Karnowsky Pokross detail 

Esther Gabinsky Pokrossdetail, Esther Gabinsky Pokross
Barney Pritzker
Lillie and Israel PokrossJacob and Sarah Karnowsky Pokross

Detail,  Jacob and Sarah Karnowsky Pokross


Subpages (1): House resolution
Aaron Ginsburg,
Mar 26, 2019, 12:07 PM