Jewish Heritage Europe

Poland notes: Travel App; Online Cemetery Research, Exhibitions & more

Gateway to the Remuh synagogue, Krakow. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber
Gateway to the Remuh synagogue, Krakow. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber


So much goes on in Poland regarding Jewish built heritage that it can be hard to keep up… Some developments we are posting on individually, but here is a round up of some other recent news:



TravelAppA new tablet and smartphone app guides tourists and other visitors to Jewish heritage and other sites in Poland.

Poland: A Guide to Major Cities and Jewish Sites focuses on major Polish cities and is available in IOS format as well as on the Android platform.

Developed for Moreshet, The Mordechai Anielevich Memorial Holocaust Studies and Research Center in Israel, it provides information for each major site, including its location, along with directions on how to get there. The app includes a guide to the major places to visit in each city, as well as a general history of each city and a section on the Jewish history of these cities. There is information on local Jewish sites of interest as well as in-depth material on the major Nazis death camps located in Poland (Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, Majdanek and Sobibor).


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Jewish cemetery in Będzin, Poland, 2009. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber
Jewish cemetery in Będzin, Poland, 2009. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber



Jewish Records Indexing – Poland (JRI-Poland) and the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland have signed a collaborative agreement to enable searches of the JRI-Poland database to display links to transcriptions and photographs of almost 100,000 gravestones one the FDJC website. Since 2006, the Foundation has photographed and transcribed gravestones in more than 80 Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

The aim of the JRI-Poland/ FDJC agreement is to bring the work of the FDJC to the widest audience as well as utilize the multi-faceted JRI-Poland search engine options to  increase the potential for finding gravestones of interest to researchers.

See details here. 

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Model of Warsaw's destroyed Great Synagogue, in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
Model of Warsaw’s destroyed Great Synagogue, in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews



The Associated Press reported on an initiative that will see the reconstruction — in miniature models — of Warsaw’s pre-war architecture, before the city was largely destroyed in World War II. Models of destroyed buildings in surrounding Mazovia region are also planned. Among planned miniatures are the  Great Synagogue in Warsaw and the wooden synagogue in Śniadowo. (There is a model of the Warsaw Great Synagogue already in the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.)

The Miniature Park project is the brainchild of Rafał Kunach, an economist-turned-builder who the AP described as having “a childhood passion for city models.”

“I wanted to show the Warsaw that is no more,” Kunach said.

By 2018, he hopes to have 50 miniature replicas of Warsaw’s lost buildings, including railway stations, a synagogue and houses from the once-thriving Jewish district that was demolished by the Nazis. So far his team of historians, architects and builders has created 10 miniature reconstructions of the lost buildings at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.


“I would like to show through my project that it is Warsaw that has always been multicultural and that the people of Poland have respected the differences of other nations,” Kunach states on the project’s web site. “In the Miniature Park we’re building in eight thematic areas we’d like to present the cultural landscape of Mazovia as well as models of buildings that have vanished from our city skyline. We want to be the largest Miniature Park in Central-Eastern Europe and one of the largest in the world. The educational role of that project is priceless, for us and for our children.”

AP says the miniature are currently displayed in a downtown mall,  “but Warsaw authorities have promised a larger space for them next year.” Kunach’s web site says the aim is to display them in a parklike setting.


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An exhibit that opened during Hanukkah in the municipal museum in Rybnik displays recently discovered photographs of the destroyed Jewish cemetery in the town.

Virtual Shtetl notes that :

The cemetery in Rybnik was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1931, the authorities made a decision to close the cemetery for sanitary reasons. During World War II, the cemetery was devastated. Germans ordered the removal of tombstones and digging up the graves. There is a park on the site today. […] Przemysław Nadolski, a historian from Bytom. While conducting a preliminary research at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences, he accidentally came across over 30 photographs made at the Jewish cemetery in Rybnik in the 1920s.

These have been mounted as an exhibition that will run until January 31.

Click here to see info on museum web site

Click here to see images from the opening of the exhibition, and of the photographs on display


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