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"Erected in commemoration of the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Agricultural Colony. Jewish immigrants who mostly came from Czarist Russia, Roumania, Austria and Poland were assisted by the Baron de Hirsch Institute and the Jewish Colonization Association. These colonists were motivated by a keen desire to escape religious persecution and racial discrimination, with the rights to own and farm their land and freely adhere to their orthodox faith."
- Erected by former colonists and descendants in co-operation with Saskatchewan Department of Tourism and Renewable Resources. 1976
"The Baron de Hirsch Jewish Agricultural Colony was a unique orthodox Jewish farming community which carried on in the traditions of their orthodox Jewish faith.The following notes were offered by Gertie Lev of Estevan, during an interview on September 8th, 1997.
It was sponsored by the Baron de Hirsch Institute of Montreal, and the Jewish Colonization Association.
Although some individual Jewish families like the Fishtroms settled in that area in 1890-91, the Colony was not established until 1892, with 47 families.
During the span of its existence as a Colony (1892-1942) its numbers varied between seven and seventy-five families.
When the Hirsch Colony was established in 1892, there was no organized Municipal government in existence yet, and the area was referred to as the District of Assiniboia, Northwest Territories, until September 1905, when the Province of Saskatchewan was formed. This area is now referred to as the Rural Municipality of Coalfields #4, in the Constituency of Qu'Appelle-Moose Mountain.
The Hirsch Community Jewish Cemetery was established in 1894. It contained five acres until Provincial Highwasy #18 expropriated 0.78 of an acre therefrom, when it was constructed in the 1950's. It now contains 4.22 acres and is located on the northwest corner of the northeast quarter of section 32, township 2, range 5, west 2nd Meridian. This cemetery acreage was set aside by the Jewish Colonization Association, who are still the owners. The balance of that quarter section in addition to other adjacent lands is now owned and farmed by Alex Schopp.
There are 103 graves in this cemetery, of which only 50 remain marked now. I remember, prior to the drought of the 1930's, when there were several temporary markers. Due to neglect, lack of maintenance, and severe drifting of soil, these markers have disappeared. The original cemetery records which were kept by the late Chas. Zelickson, are lost.
On October 19, 10, and 21 in 1975, my collaborator, the late M.G. Kofsky, and I; with the kind assistance of the Kleiman Bros., and Alex Schopp, local farmers and natives of that colony, attempted to compile new records. We found little evidence of the former temporary markers, but only visible mounds of earth overgrown with vegetation; with some almost covered by drifted soil. Such is the only mute evidence of those others who were interred there.
We found three rows of marked (with several unmarked) graves lying north and south. The rows and plots are not marked numerically nor alphabetically. Some of the tombstones are traditionally and totally inscribed in Hebrew, but are badly weather beaten, with the inscriptions almost obliterated.
Furthermore, those headstones which bear the total Hebrew inscriptions show the dates according to the Hebrew calendar, with only the first names of the interred, and the first names of the interred's father.
Note - this year 1997 corresponds to 5737 - Hebrew Calendar. ASM
I have listed the three rows numerically #1, #2, #3, from west to east. The plots or graves in each row are listed numerically, beginning with #1 on the north, consecutively towards the south.
Of course, all the rest of those graves which are unmarked cannot be identified, nor listed here.
A new sign mounted on 4" seamless steel pipe posts embedded in concrete was erected at the cemetery gate in the fall of 1975, by I. Moss, a native of Hirsch, and descendant of a former colonist.
On June 15th, 1977, I have erected a plaque, commemorating this historic venture in Saskatchewan agriculture. It is located in front of the cemetery fence adjacent to Highway #18.
Enclosed herewith, is a copy of the wording on the plaque, and a picture of me beside it, with my compliments.
Released to C.M. Ching at Oxbow, Saskatchewan, in the presence of M. Kleiman November 11th, 1977. Maurice Kleiman."
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