Jewish Heritage Europe

Heritage & Heritage Sites

There are around 1,200 or more Jewish cemeteries around Poland, most of which have no gravestones (or only a few). Scores of synagogue buildings also still stand, though only a tiny handful are used still as Jewish houses of worship. You can access information on most site via the general links below, in particular Virtual Shtetl. In addition, we provide further links to a number of sites that have their own web resources or other material. 

Search our news items for Poland to find further updated information

GENERAL (NATIONAL)

Virtual Shtetl portal

A one-stop shop for information on thousands of Jewish heritage sites around Poland and parts of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania. A vast and expanding online database and also a frequently updated news source on Jewish heritage, history and culture in towns and cities all over Poland. A project of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, it offers most of its material in Polish, English, German, and Hebrew.

FODZ — Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

Established by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) to protect and commemorate the surviving monuments of Jewish cultural heritage in Poland. The Foundation is active in regions where there are no nearby active Jewish communities, an area covering nearly two thirds of Poland. Among its project is the Chassidic Route — a loosely linked network of more than 20 Jewish heritage sites in southeastern Poland, for which FODZ has prepared information including downloadable brochures (from the Downloads Panel in the sidebar).

Foundation for the Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland — Database of Jewish Cemeteries in Warsaw and the Mazovia Region of Poland

Database including transcriptions of inscriptions and photographs of gravestones in dozens of Jewish cemeteries around the country. Founded by the Warsaw Jewish Community and constantly expanding, it partners with the Jewish Records Indexing Poland (JRI-Poland).

Legislation Regarding Cemeteries, including Jewish Cemeteries, in Poland

A report by the Lo-Tishkach NGO, first published in 2007 and updated in 2017

U.S. Commission Survey of Jewish Heritage Sites in Poland

Downloadable PDF file of the first fullscale post-Holocaust survey of Jewish heritage sites in Poland — mainly synagogues and Jewish cemeteries, carried out in the 1990s.

International Jewish Cemetery Project Page for Poland

Listings for Jewish cemeteries all over the country, with location data and other information.

Kirkuty

Comprehensive web site on Jewish cemeteries in Poland, with lots of pictures

Museum of Family History: Holocaust Memorials in Poland (The Cemetery Project)

Shabbat Goy

A web site in French about traces of Jewish heritage in Poland, featuring photographs and information on hundreds of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and other sites.

The Matzevah Foundation: Remembering, Restoring, Reconciling

A Baptist Christian foundation that sponsors restoration and clean up work in Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

Obecnie Nieobecni (Presently Absent)

Web site of a nationwide photographic historical project concentrated on a symbolic value of presently non-existent Jewish cemeteries. It shows places that once were (visible) Jewish cemeteries.

National Heritage Board of Poland

An interactive map of all landmarked heritage sites and monuments in Poland.

GENERAL (REGIONAL)

EAST AND NORTHEAST POLAND

 Bagnowka

Database, photographs, videos and other material on Jewish cemeteries and other Jewish heritage sites in scores of towns, cities and villages, primarily in eastern Poland. The site was founded by researcher Tomasz Wisniewski.

Białystok Polish-Israel Education Center

Information on history and Jewish heritage sites in eastern and northeastern Poland. There are lists and pictures of synagogue buildings and Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in dozens of towns and cities — click the links in the sidebar.

Jewish East Prussia

Web site about Jewish history, life & heritage in East Prussia (now divided among Lithuania, Russia & Poland)

GALICIA (SOUTHEAST POLAND/WESTERN UKRAINE) AND EASTERN POLAND

Chassidic Route

A loosely linked network of more than 20 Jewish heritage sites in southeastern Poland, for which FODZ has prepared information including downloadable brochures (from the Downloads Panel in the sidebar).

Galician Traces

Extensive photographic documentation by Charles Burns of Jewish heritage sites, mainly in parts of Poland, Romania and western Ukraine, with a focus on Jewish cemeteries, including many images of individual gravestones. Dozens of towns are included.

GesherGalicia

A genealogy web site with many resources — including a “map room” with historic and cadastal maps of a number of towns and cities.

Jewish Galicia & Bukovina

Web site with extensive resources on Jewish heritage (and built heritage).

Shtetl Routes

Extensive information about Jewish heritage in dozens of mainly small towns in the Poland-Belarus-Ukraine border regions. A large Jewish heritage tourism and research project carried out thanks to an EU grant.

SILESIA

Bits of the History of Jewish in Silesia

Downloadable PDF book (published in 2014) that includes the history, and historic images, maps, etc, regarding synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, and other Jewish sites in several towns and cities: Jelenia Góra; Kamienna Góra; Jawor; Strzegom; Kowary; Kłodzko; Legnica; Świdnica

WARSAW

Much of Warsaw was destroyed in World War II, including almost all sites of Jewish heritage. Today, main heritage sites include the Nożyk synagogue (the only intact synagogue still standing in Warsaw); one block of Prózna street; the Jewish cemeteries on Okopowa street and in the Praga district (Brodno cemetery); remains of a private prayer house in Praga; the Jewish Historical Institute, located in the former building of the Jewish Library. There is a memorial trail in the destroyed WW2 Warsaw Ghetto area and several monuments to the Holocaust, including the Ghetto Heroes Monument, across from the new POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2014.

Information for the Jewish Tourist in Warsaw (Fact Sheet and Tourist Guide)

An information resource prepared by the Jewish community in Warsaw with tourist and logistical information, and information and contacts regarding synagogues and other Jewish institutions, Jewish heritage, sights, kosher food, etc.

Nożyk Synagogue

ul. Twarda 6
Tel: +48 502 400 849

The only synagogue to have survived World War II in Warsaw intact, it was founded as a private synagogue by businessman Zalman Nożyk and his wife Rivka. It opened on 12 May 1902. Desecrated during WW2, it was used after the war by the survivor community but closed down in 1968. It stool empty until renovation allowed it to reopen in 1983 and today serves the city’s orthodox Jewish community.

Article about the synagogue by Haim Ghiuzeli on the Bet Hatftusot web site

Jewish Cemeteries

Jewish Cemetery at Okopowa St.

Vast cemetery founded in 1806 and occupying more than 33 hectares (82 acres). There are scores of thousands of grave markers, ranging from opulent mausolea to simple matzevot, and as many as 250,000 burials, including mass graves. Much of it is overgrown. The Polish government announced in 2017 it was investing €24 million toward its restoration and clean-up.

Okopowa St. Jewish Cemetery searchable database

Names, dates, description, location and photograph of each gravestone

Okopowa St. cemetery on Virtual Shtetl

Bródno Jewish Cemetery

15 św. Wincentego Street, 03-505 Warsaw
Tel:  +48 (0) 22 678 74 53, (+48) 505 796 886
Email: brodno@jewish.org.pl

Founded in the 18th century and used until 1940, the cemetery is Warsaw’s oldest preserved Jewish burial grounds and is in the Praga district. The stones were uprooted and used for construction. Many stones have been returned. Fencing and a new gate are part of ongoing restoration work — that also will include a visitor center and permanent exhibition.

Virtual Shtetl page on the Bródno cemetery

Warsaw Ghetto Database

A collection of facts from the history of the ghetto based on archival and bibliographical data. The Internet database  enables its users to easily find related information on specific subjects: people, events and places from the Warsaw ghetto.

Warsaw 1939 web site

Photographs, maps and resources on Warsaw before World War II, showing the architectural and social fabric of the city that was largely destroyed in the war.

Virtual tour of pre-World War II Jewish Warsaw

Google virtual tour of an exhibit at the POLIN museum

KRAKOW

Tourists outside the Old Synagogue, Krakow

Krakow’s old Jewish quarter, Kazimierz, is the largest, most intact, and best-preserved Jewish quarter in Europe. There are seven synagogue buildings, various prayer houses, two Jewish cemeteries, homes, streets, market squares (including today’s Plac Nowy) and other infrastructure, as well as two Jewish museums, an active religious community and a lively JCC. .

Since the early 1990s, the area has developed (and been developed) into one of Europe’s main Jewish tourist attractions.

Virtual Shtetl’s pages on Krakow

Exhaustive information about the Jewish heritage sites around the city.

Jewish Krakow: A Visual and Virtual Tour

The web site lists places to see and locates them on a map; it also lists accommodation, restaurants and cafes in and around the Jewish quarter, Kazimierz. Lots of information.

See a  PDF list of all synagogues and prayer houses (betei midrash) in Krakow in 1918-1939

Here are some of the main Jewish heritage sites in Krakow. Check the links above for detail information.

Synagogues

Old Synagogue

Szeroka 24, 31-053 Kraków
Tel: +48 (0) 12 422 09 62, 12 431 05 45
Fax: +48 (0) 12 431 05 45
Email: starasynagoga@mhk.pl

A gothic building that originally probably dates to the 15th century and was the first synagogue to be constructed in Kazimierz. It was reconstructed by the Italian architect Mateo Gucci in 1570, who gave it a Renaissance form, and it has undergone further remodeling and renovation over the centuries. It  dominates one end of Szeroka, the main square of Jewish Kazimierz. Desecrated during the Holocaust, it was restored in the 1950s and reopened in 1959 as the Jewish History branch of the Krakow City Museum.

Remuh Synagogue

Szeroka 40

Set back in a courtyard and built in the 1550s at the edge of a newly established Jewish cemetery (today known as the Old Cemetery), it is the main active synagogue in the city today. The synagogue was founded by Israel Isserles, the father of the important sage Rabbi Moses Isserles, or Remuh, whose tomb in the Old Jewish Cemetery next to the synagogue is still a place of pilgrimage.

See article about the Remuh Synagogue on the Bet Hatfutsot web site

Tempel Synagogue

Originally built in 1862, this reform synagogue was restored in the 1990s and still serves as a house of worship, as well as a setting for concerts and other events. It was restored in the 1990s, one of the first major synagogue restoration projects to be undertaken in post-Communist Europe.

Brochure about the Tempel Synagogue restoration

Kupa Synagogue

Dating from the 1640s and remodeled over the centuries. It was devastated by the Nazis and used for decades after World War II as a workshop. Fullscale renovation was completed in 2002. The synagogue is richly decorated with ceiling and wall paintings dating from the 1920s-30s, showing of biblical scenes and signs of the Zodiac, as well as other decorative elements. It is used for services as well a cultural events.

Read Samuel Gruber’s article on the decoration of the Kupa

Izaak Synagogue

Kupa 18

Built in the 1640s. The synagogue was restored in the 1990s, revealing beautiful, if fragmentary, frescoes and richly decorative stucco work and other architectural detail under a lofty vaulted ceiling. It is used for religious services today as well as cultural events.

High Synagogue

Jozefa 38

The synagogue, on a upper floor was built in around 1560 near what was then a gate into the Jewish town. The façade  features four buttresses and three arched windows. Today it serves as a culture venue; on the ground floor is the Austeria Jewish book store. Two doors away, a Hebrew inscription and two stars of David can still be seen on the façade of a former prayer house.

The Popper Synagogue (also called the Bocian Synagogue) built around 1620, stands in a courtyard off Szeroka 16. Its heavily buttressed structure remains intact, but all interior decoration has been lost, and the synagogue has long been used as a cultural center.

Jewish Cemeteries

Two Jewish cemeteries survive in Krakow. the Old Jewish Cemetery, next to the Remuh Synagogue and entered from the same courtyard, was founded in the mid-16th century and used until 1800. The resting place of Moses Isserles Remuh and other figures, It is a place of pilgrimage The Old Cemetery was already in poor condition in the 1930s and was devastated by the Nazis. In 1959, however, excavations unearthed hundreds of ancient tombstones and fragments that had been buried under the surface. More than 700 tombstones were re-erected in neat rows, providing what is more of a museum of cemetery art than a real cemetery. Broken fragments of tombstones, meanwhile, were used to create a mosaic memorial wall.

The New Jewish Cemetery, at Miodowa 55, was founded in 1800, after the Old Cemetery went out of use. It is a vast expanse that encompasses thousands of tombstones, many of which are beautifully carved, and is still in use by the Jewish community.

From “Atlantis” to …? The past and present of Jewish Krakow in the second decade of the new millennium

An article we published on our web site by Dr. Monika Murzyn-Kupisz, which she presented in the session “JEWS AND JEWISH DISTRICTS IN EUROPEAN CITIES, 18TH TO 21ST CENTURIES” at the “XI International Conference on Urban History – Cities & Societies in a Comparative Perspective” organized by the European Association for Urban History at the Charles University in Prague, 29.08-01.09.2012

ELSEWHERE IN POLAND — INDIVIDUAL SITES

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Jewish heritage sites in Poland. You can find lists and information on most of them from the links cited above — in particular from the Virtual Shtetl portal, which provides material on about 2,500 places. Some of the links above lead to searchable databases with extensive and often quite detailed information. Here  below we include a selection of locations that have their own web sites and/or other elaboration online.

BĘDZIN

Remains of Jewish quarter with some small, private prayer houses. Jewish cemetery.

Synagogues

Cukerman Prayer House

A private prayer house found hidden in an upstairs apartment at Aleja Kollataja 24 — in a building that was part of a grand complex of tenement dwellings and businesses owned by Nuchim Cukerman. It was renovated and reopened to the public thanks to a grant from the province. The striking wall paintings that show scenes of Jerusalem, musical instruments and other motifs, were preserved and restored during a six-month restoration project overseen by the Brama Cukermana (Cukerman’s Gate) Foundation, a local NGO dedicated to preserving Bedzin’s Jewish heritage.

Mizrachi Synagogue

The so-called Mizrachi synagogue, believed to date from the mid-1920s, is located in a building at ul. Potocki 3 in the former Jewish quarter.  It was used by the members of the Mizrachi religious Zionist organization.The founder was probably the owner of the entire building, a man named Wiener, who was active in the movement. Restoration carried out by local authorities was completed in November 2011.

Jewish Cemeteries

Two Jewish cemeteries have been destroyed. Two remain.

Old Cemetery

Podzamcze Street, below the castle

Founded before 1830; several hundred gravestones survive in the steep hillside cemetery, the oldest legible from 1831. Some restoration is ongoing. See article on kirkuty web site.

New Cemetery

ul. Czeladzka 64, on the border of Bedzin and nearby Czeladz

Founded in 1916, heavily damaged during and after WW2 but restored in 1988 and after. The cemetery has about 3200 gravestones, all of which have been photographed and are included in the JRI-Poland database. See article on kirkuty web site.

An article on Silesia Heritage web site about the synagogue and its restoration, with before and after pictures

Brama Cukermana (Cukerman’s Gate) Foundation

BIAŁYSTOK

Three surviving (though transformed) synagogues; one surviving Jewish cemetery (out of six pre-war cemeteries). Numerous former Jewish buildings; various memorials (including to the destroyed Great Synagogue).

Jewish Heritage Trail in Białystok

A project of the University of Białystok Foundation, the web site has information (in English and Polish) on Jewish heritage sites — most of them only marked with a plaque — in the city. There is also a downloadable PDF guidebook brochure, published in 2008 and a Jewish Heritage Trail smartphone app (available for Android)

“Bagnówka” Jewish Cemetery

Wschodnia street

Founded in about 1890, this is only only surviving Jewish cemetery in Białystok, out of six pre-war Jewish cemeteries. Located next to a Catholic cemetery and in Orthodox cemetery, it once  once extended over nearly 45 acres and was divided into 100 sections, with nearly 45,000 graves. Today, it covers about 30 acres and includes only about 2,100 matzevot.

All of the stones have been photographed, and the epitaphs have been translated. This information can be found online, but in the cemetery itself, signage has been erected next to some of the stones containing translations of the epitaphs and other information.

Online virtual tour of the cemetery

Downloadable Guidebook to the Cemetery

A 34-page guidebook to the cemetery by  the scholar Heidi M. Szpek, who translated all the epitaphs.

“In the Bloodshed of Their Days”

Online article in Jewish Magazine about the cemetery, focusing on epitaphs, by  the scholar Heidi M. Szpek, who translated all the epitaphs (it is her translations that are found on the cemetery signage and the Bagnówka web site). Szpek has also authored a downloadable guide to the cemetery (see link above) and a book about it.

Bagnówka web site

Tomasz Wisniewski’s comprehensive web site about Jewish heritage and history in Bialystok and surrounding region. Photos, films, databases, etc

BOBOWA

Ark in the Bobowa synagogue. Photo © Andrzej Otrębski (Wikimedia Commons)

Synagogue from 18th century, noted for exterior wooden gallery and elaborate painted stucco frame for the ark. Long used as a weavers’ workshop it was returned to Jewish ownership in 1993, restored and redicated in 2003. It is now used for religious purposes and pilgrimage visits by followers of the Bobower rebbes.  Jewish cemetery, high on a hill, where Bobower rebbes are buried.

 
Our JHE post about frescoes discovered in the synagogue during restoration work in autumn 2013.

BYCHAWA

Disused synagogue, purchased by a private individual who wants to restore it and set up a private foundation. There is a ruined Jewish cemetery across the street.

Web site about Jewish heritage in Bychawa

Synagogue

Kościuszki, 23-100 Bychawa

Built around 1811 and damaged decades later in a fire; rebuilt in 1899. It has a massive four-pillar central Bimah and there are surviving polychome paintings on its walls, some of them portraying mytical animals; believed to be from early 20th century.

See Center for Jewish Art documentation of the synagogue

CHMIELNIK

This small town north of Krakow was 70-80 percent Jewish before World War II. Recent efforts spearheaded by local activist Piotr Krawczyk and town officials have renovated the long-abandoned synagogue into a state of the art Jewish museum and education center  that features a unique glass bimah, and established memorials in the Jewish cemeteries. There is a well-preserved mikveh in the cellar of the former bath house, near the synagogue.

The  Świętokrzyski Shtetl web site on the museum and Jewish history and heritage of Chmielnik also offers information on dozens of other towns in the Świętokrzysie voivodeship.

Virtual Tour of Chmielnik

Our JHE post about the mikveh

 

DZIERZONIÓW

Formerly the German town of Reichenbach.

Synagogue

Ignacego Krasickiego 28, 58-200 Dzierżoniów

Built in 1875, the box-shaped neo-Romanesque synagogue was used by the local Jewish community until the Germans 1937 closed it down and sold it in 1937. After World War II and until the 1980s, the synagogue again was used for religious purposes by a renewed Jewish community of thousands of  Holocaust survivors.  Many had been liberated from the concentrati­on camps, had survived the Holocaust in the Soviet Union, or had fought as partisans in Polish forests. Most of these people emigrated, and by the 1980s only a handful of Jews lived in the town; the synagogue was abandoned and became derelict.

It has been undergoing gradual restoration since 2004 by the Beitenu Chaj-2004 foundation. It is currently used for cultural purposes, but was opened for Rosh Hashana Services in 2009.

Beitenu Chaj-2004 web site

Downloadable PDF brochure on the synagogue and project

Dzierzoniów on Virtual Shtetl

JÓZEFÓW BIŁGORAJSKI

Synagogue dating from the second half of the 19th century and Jewish cemetery, both of which underwent renovation in 2015.

The Synagogue was used as a warehouse after 1945 and then after its roof collapsed,  became a total ruin. In 1985-1991, it was renovated and a library was located there. As part of the €200,000 renovation completed in 2015 and carried out under the supervision of a historic preservation officer, windows and doors were replaced, plaster was filled in, the inside walls were renovated, and PVC tiles were replaced by terracotta. The building was drained and secured against damp.  A small exhibition of photographs and Judaica was installed in the niche of the Ark.

The Jewish cemetery was established around the middle of the 18th century, and its eastern section was expanded in 1848. Severely damaged in WW2, it has about 400 surviving gravestones, the oldest from 1762. In 2015 underwent clean-up work and installation of new fencing and gates  organized by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) and realized in cooperation with the ESJF (European Jewish Cemetery Initiative).

Shtetl Routes/Grodzka Gate Theatre Web Page on Jozefow

KATOWICE

Regional and industrial center with an active Jewish community and several remaining heritage sites.

Virtual Shtetl Katowice page.

Video with old postcard views and 3-D computer reconstruction of the Great Synagogue, destroyed on Kristallnacht:

Jewish cemetery, founded in 1868, at ul. Kozielska 16.

Virtual Shtetl page on Katowice Jewish cemetery.

The video below shows a “walking tour” of the cemetery

KAZIMIERZ DOLNY

A beautiful town on the Vistula River, a resort town and artists’ retreat as well as a noted Jewish community. The synagogue, remains of Jewish cemetery with major Holocaust memorial; Jewish tourism infrastructure. There is a plaque memorializing the 3,000 or so local Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Synagogue

ul. Lublin 4
24-120 Kazimierz Dolny
Tel: +48 (0) 81 881 08 94 Mobile: +48 692 578 677
Email: kaziemierz@jewish.org.pl

Built in the second half of the 18th century, the synagogue was long used as a cinema after World War II but was returned to Jewish communal ownership in 2002. Today it is used as a cultural and exhibition space, housing a exhibition on Jewish Kazimierz Dolny that includes pre-war photographs by Benedykt Jerzy Dorysa. The synagogue complex also includes a guest house, called Beiteinu, run by the Jewish community in Warsaw, the “Esterka” kosher cafe, and a Judaica shop. The synagogue web site has information about the history of the building and the Jewish community of the town.

Jewish Cemeteries

Kazimierz Dolny, Holocaust monument made from fragments of gravestones

Both of the town’s Jewish cemeteries (Old Cemetery on Lubelska, dating to 17th century, and New Cemetery or Czerniawy, established in 1851) were destroyed by the Nazis.

In the 1980s, a striking Holocaust Memorial in the form of a wall of hundreds of recovered gravestone fragments and split by a jagged crack was erected amid the remnants of the New Cemetery.

The Kazimierz Dolny Goldsmith Museum, a branch of the town’s Vistula region Nadwislanskie Museum, includes items of Judaica. Other branches of the town museum also present material on local Jewish heritage, including photographs and fragments of gravestones.

KIELCE

Former synagogue (now state archive); Jewish cemetery; private prayer house (ul Slowacki 4) built in 1922; site of July 4, 1946 pogrom against Holocaust survivors that killed at least 42 Jews (ul Planty 7).

Jan Karski Society

25-502, 40 Paderewskiego
Tel: +48 (0) 41 343 28 40
Fax: +48 (0) 41 343 28 49
Email to Bogdan Białek, Chairman: bogdan.bialek@charaktery.com.pl

An NGO that, in addition to carrying out civil society activities, manages the Jewish cemetery in Kielce and is working to preserve a rare, surviving private prayer house and move it to the Jewish cemetery where it will anchor an educational/cultural/memorial center.

 

KNYSZYN

The old Jewish cemetery with hundreds of gravestones, built  on the dams of royal ponds, was  founded in the 18th century; the oldest identifiable stone is from 1806. (There is a much smaller “new” Jewish cemetery founded in the late 1920s next to this.) Desecrated and abandoned after WW2, it recently has been restored by the town, with EU and Regional funding. Signage was erected, including a large sign at the site with a map and description of 30 particularly interesting gravestones, and a walking route through the cemetery was marked out. The town also provides a free downloadable brochure in English and Polish about the cemetery and local Jewish history. Near the cemetery is the mass grave of about 70 Jews killed by Germans soldiers on November 2, 1942.

Knyszyn on Virtual Shtetl

Click to download the Polish-English brochure about the cemetery & local Jewish history

Knyszyn town web site

Jewish cemetery on the IAJGS International Jewish Cemetery Project

KORCZYNA

The Jewish cemetery in this small town in southern Poland has been restored as a project of the Dartmouth University Hillel. Students have photographed all the several hundred 19th-20th century gravestones and transcribed and translated into English the epitaphs. Virtual Shtetl and Kirkuty have photographs of the cemetery before the restoration work as well a details on the history of the town.

Jewish Cemetery Preservation Project

JewishGen’s KehilaLinks Korczyna page

LESZNO

The Art Gallery of the District Museum in Leszno is housed in the town’s former synagogue, at 31 ul Narutowicza (Tel. +48 (0) 65 529 61 43.) The building was constructed between 1796 and 1799. Severely damaged in World War II, it was restored as the museum in the 1990s and is listed as a cultural monument.

The Museum displays an extensive permanent exhibition of Judaica there and stages exhibits on Jewish themes. See: Leszno Judaica Collection (a pdf file on the collection)Until 2004, this collection was housed in the former Pre-Burial House on the site of the largely ruined Jewish Cemetery. This building now serves as a branch of the town library. (al. Jana Pawła II 14, 64-100 Leszno. Tel: +48 (0) 65 520 5355;  Fax: +48 (0) 65 529 6665; Email: sekretariat@mbpleszno.pl)

The Jewish cemetery was destroyed by the Nazis, but about 400 fragments of gravestones have been collected, and some are displayed in the building.

Virtual Shtetl pages on Leszno

LUBACZÓW

Jewish Cemetery

Extensive blog/web site on the Jewish cemetery in Lubaczów by Eva Floersheim, with detailed information, photographs of the gravestones (also highlighting problems such as erosion), names of those buried and position of graves, etc.

LUBLIN

Lublin was a key center of Jewish life and learning for centuries, but few physical traces remain. There are many plaques, however, and other resources. Remaining sites include two Jewish cemeteries and the Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, which includes a synagogues and a permanent exhibition that opened in 2017.

See a comprehensive guide to Jewish sites in Lublin here.

Foundation for the Protection of Lublin Jewish Cemeteries

Web site of the Grodzka Gate NN Theatre Center

NGO devoted to researching and promoting Jewish culture, history and heritage.

JEWISH SITES

Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin.

Founded by Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapiro in 1930; closed down in 1939. Used by the medical school of the university after World War II; returned to Jewish communal ownership in 2004. Restored by the Warsaw Jewish community and now the headquarters of the local Jewish community (with a synagogue, now restored, incorporated) but also the 4-star Hotel Ilan, opened in August 2013, and a permanent exhibition on Shapiro and the Yeshiva, opened in 2017.

Photo documentation of the opening of the Yeshiva in 1930

The photos are from a set of some 2700 glass negatives of pre WW2 photographs of Jewish life in Lublin that were found in a house on Lublin’s main square (Rynek) and given to the Grodzka Gate Theatre NN in 2012.

JHE post about the opening of the hotel

JHE article about the permanent exhibition, by its curator, Grazyna Pawlak

Jewish cemeteries

The Old Jewish Cemetery, founded in the first half of the 16th century and in use until the 19th century, is believed to be the oldest Jewish cemetery still existing in Poland. The Nazis tore it up and used its stones for paving, but valuable historic gravestones remain. The oldest, that of the scholar Jakob Kopelman ha Levi, who died in 1541, is believed to be the oldest Jewish gravestone in Poland in situ.

See online index of all gravestones in the Old Jewish Cemetery

New Cemetery  (ul. Walecznych);  founded in 1829. Devastated during World War II , it underwent extensive renovation in the 1980s-1990s and is still used by the current community. There are many memorials to Holocaust victims and a modernistic mausoleum housing a memorial center and the symbolic tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapiro (d. 1933) who founded the Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin.

See online index of all gravestones in the New Jewish Cemetery

ŁAŃCUT

Synagogue

Baroque synagogue from the 18th century with central bimah and exquisite, colorful interior decoration, one of the most beautiufully restored in Poland.

Jewish cemetery

Founded in the 17th century, it is the site of pilgrimages to the tombs of Tzadiks Naftali Tzvi Horowitz of Ropczyce (1760-1827)  and Eleazar Shapiro of Łańcut (d. 1865).

Downloadable PDF detailed brochure on Łańcut Jewish heritage from the FODZ Chassidic Route

ŁȨCZNA

The 17th century Great Synagogue for years housed a Regional Museum (and maintained synagogue fittings and decoration). Returned to Jewish communal ownership; a new Jewish museum is planned there. Fragments from the destroyed Jewish cemetery are displayed outside. The 19th century Smaller synagogue nearby now the town library.

The Jewish cemetery on Pasternik st was established in the 17th century but almost totally destoryed in WW2. Today, there is an ohel to Szlomo Lejb, a tzadik who died in the 19th century, built in 2005.

Virtual Shtetl page

Łȩczna Town web site

ŁÓDŹ

Poland’s second largest city, with many traces of Jewish heritage and culture and an active Jewish community. Jewish cemetery, mansions, factories, World War II Ghetto, active Jewish community and synagogue. The Foundation for Łódź Jewish Heritage lists and describes many sites and in particular works to preserve the Jewish cemetery.

Field Guide to Jewish Łódź

Detailed, downloadable PDF guidebook to Jewish history and heritage in Łódź. A go-to resource.

Synagogues

Reicher Synagogue

Rewolucji 1905 roku 28
90-001 Łódź, Poland

Built in 1900, the only Łódź synagogue to survive WW2.

Synagogues of Łódź (in Polish)

Web site about present and destroyed synagogues and prayer houses in the city.

Digital video reconstructions of destroyed synagogues in Łódź 

The Center for Dialogue posts digital video reconstructions of four destroyed synagogues in the city: those that stood at 20 Wolborska Street; 2 Spacerowa Street (Kościuszki Av); 56 Zachodnia Street and 6 Wólczańska Street. The videos can be accessed on YouTube. The reconstructions were also  published in print as  Łódź Synagogues- Virtual Heritage of a Lost District, by Krzysztof Stefański and Rafał Szrajber. The book includes archival illustrations and computer drawings illustrating the  reconstruction process.

Computer video reconstruction of interior of destroyed Great Synagogue in  Łódź

The reconstruction was based on only two existing photographs of the interior and the models developed by the project: “Łódź synagogues — virtual heritage of a lost district” by K.Stefański and Rafal Szrajber. The use of video game engine allows exploration of  an interior that no longer exists.

Jewish Cemetery

Bracka st.

Established in 1811 and one of the biggest Jewish cemeteries in Poland, with massive tombs (including that of industrialist I.K. Poznanski) as well as simple gravestones.

Lodz Jewish Cemetery web site

Includes photos, links, and a searchable map of the cemetery with lists of names.

Manufaktura – Museum of the Factory

The red-brick textile factory once run by I.K. Poznanski, the wealthiest Jewish industrialist in Łódź, has been converted into a sprawling shopping center, Manufaktura, which also includes a Museum of the Factory

Poznański Palace/City Museum

Manufaktura stands next to I.K. Poznański’s huge mansion, which now serves as the Łódź City Museum.

World War II Łódź Ghetto

Detailed web site with history of the WW2 Ghetto, map and description of buildings.

ŁOMŻA

Two Jewish cemeteries.

Łomża Jewish Cemetery Foundation

A U.S.-based NGO dedicated to preserving Lomza’s Jewish cemeteries. The web site has pictures and other information, including a list of names of people buried in the New Jewish Cemetery.

Łomża Virtual Jewish Cemeteries

Photographs and other information on the two Jewish cemeteries in Łomża. Includes a map of the old Jewish cemetery.

ORLA

Town in northeastern Poland with a synagogue originally built in the 17th century.

Synagogue

Severely damaged during World War II, the synagogue has been partially reconstructed; some of the vivid pre-WW2 polychrome painted interior decoration is intact. The building has a distinctive facade, with a pillar-flanked portal.

Orla KehilaLinks pages, with material and pictures about the synagogue

 The video below on the Orla synagogue is by Tomasz Wisniewski

 

OŚWIĘCIM

The town where the Auschwitz death camp was built had a majority Jewish population before World War II. One synagogue remains; long used as a carpet warehouse, it was restored and opened in 2000 to house the Auschwitz Jewish Center educational and prayer center, which plays a leading role in fostering knowledge of the town’s Jewish heritage. The site of the destroyed Great Synagogue is marked. There is a Jewish cemetery that was devastated in WW2 but restored in recent decades.

Auschwitz Jewish Center

Pl. Ks. Jana Skarbka 5
32-600 Oświęcim
Tel: +48 (0) 33 844 7002
Fax: +48 (0) 33 844 7003
Email: info@ajcf.pl

Prayer, research and educational center, with a museum on the pre-WW2 Jewish history of Oświęcim. Opened in 2000, it is located in a complex including the town’s only surviving synagogue, which has been restored. The new core exhibition of the Center is called “Oshpitzin: The Story of Jewish Oświęcim.” Opened in May 2014, it tells the story of pre-war Jewish Oświęcim, the Holocaust, and Jewish life in Oświęcim today through unique objects, testimonies, documents, photographs, artifacts from the destroyed Great Synagogue, and immersive new technologies. Jews lived in Oświęcim in a diverse and vibrant community for 400 years before the Holocaust. In 1939, there were roughly 8,000 Jewish residents in a town of 14,000 people. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Oświęcim was murdered in the Holocaust, and all but one synagogue – of nearly thirty that existed – disappeared.

The exhibition’s accompanying Smartphone app can be found at app.oshpitzin.pl. It is available for download for both Apple and Android products.

Oshpitzin interactive map, site and guide

OŻARÓW

Synagogue

The former synagogue dates originally to the 18th century. It was extensively rebuilt after World War I, used by the Nazis as a storage house during World War II and in the communist period turned into a cinema. Now it serves as a plumbing supply store.

Jewish Cemetery

ul. Morska

Jewish cemetery dating back to the 17th century and used until 1942, located across from a Catholic cemetery. Most gravestones have been damaged or destroyed but those that remain feature fine carving, with some bearing traces of color. The cemetery was fenced off and cleaned in the early 2000s by descendants of local Jews.

Facebook page for the Jewish cemetery and synagogue (with pictures)

Ożarów Jewish cemetery project

PIOTRKÓW TRYBUNALSKI

Two Synagogues (next to each other on Jerozolimska street). Both have been used as public libraries since the mid-1960s. There is also an extensive Jewish cemetery.

Great Synagogue

 Built between 1791 and 1793.

Small Synagogue

Founded by the Hern Piotrkower Foundation and built in 1781. It is used as a children’s library and retains a polychorme mural on one wall amid the shelves.

Jewish Cemetery

Founded in 1791; the oldest gravestone dates from 1794. Many stones have vivid carving, and there are inscriptions in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Polish and Russian. There are the ohels of several rabbis, and also a Holocaust memorial. All of the stones have been documented and photographed and put into a searchable database.

Online searchable database of gravestones in Piotrków Trybunalski Jewish cemetery

Virtual Shtetl pages on Piotrków Trybunalski

PRZEMYŚL

Early 20th century Scheinbach Synagogue (til recently the public library); Zasanska synagogue (Unii Brzeskiej 6; built in the 1890s; currently abandoned); Jewish cemetery.

Scheinbach Synagogue

Slowackiego 13

Designed by Polish architect Stanisław Majerski and built between 1910 and 1918 in Moorish-Eclecltic style, with arched windows and lavish interior decoration including wall paintings and stained glass. One of two surviving synagogue buildings (out of four main synagogues pre-WW2). Used by the Nazis as a stable. After WW2 it was used as a textile warehouse and then in the late 1960s converted for used as the public library. It was restituted to Jewish ownership in 2006, after which it was rented by the Library until the Library moved out to new premises. There are current plans to turn it into a cultural center.

History of the Scheinbach synagogue, from Library web site

Virtual Shtetl Przemyśl pages

The Jewish Przemyśl Blog

Web site/blog by descendants of Jews from Przemyśl. One focus is the preservation, mapping and maintenance of the Jewish cemetery in Przemyśl, through a partnership with the U.S-based  Remembrance and Reconciliation Foundation.

PRZYSUCHA

Once a major Hasidic center, and still a site of pilgrimage, with an imposing synagogue  (under restoration) and ruined Jewish cemetery with graves of revered rabbis.

Synagogue

The long-abandoned synagogue in this small town (which before World War II was more than 60 percent Jewish) is a massive limestone building constructed between 1774 and 1777, a time when the town (called Psischa or Parshischa in Yiddish) was a major center of Hasidism.

Some of the synagogue’s interior features are still intact, including the Ark and the frame of the Bimah. FODZ, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland, took ownership of the synagogue in 2007 and is overseeing   its restoration for eventual used as a cultural center that will serve visiting Jewish groups as well as the town.

Virtual Tour of the Main Hall of the Synagogue

Architectural Drawings of the Synagogue

Photographic Documentation of the Synagogue

Downloadable FODZ brochure about the Synagogue and Restoration plans

Jewish Cemetery

ul. Cmentarna

The cemetery was founded in the mid-18th century, and the last burial was in 1942. It was devastated in WW2 and gravestones removed and used for construction in town. Pilgrims still come to visit the tombs of revered Hasidic rabbis, in a ohel: Abraham of Przysucha (d. 1806), Jacob Yitzhak ben Asher (1766-1813), known as the Holy Jew of Przysucha and credited with being the first propagator of Hasidism in Central Poland, and Jacob’s disciple Simcha Bunem (1784-1827).

Virtual Shtetl page, with photo gallery

Page on the cemetery in Kirkuty, with photos

RADOMSKO

Kesselman Museum

An open-air museum of Jewish history opened in 2014. It is a sort of walking trail with some 50 plaques embedded into the sidewalks around the town that provide information about the Jewish history of Radomsko and the sites being marked — including former synagogues, schools and houses where Jewish families lived.

The museum is a project of the Yiddele Memory association, founded by Rachel Lili Kesselman, which worked closely with city officials, the Mayor.

Hasidic Center catering to pilgrims opened in Radomsko in 2017.

Jewish cemetery

ul. Przedborska 196

Large Jewish cemetery was founded in 1816. Though devastated in WW2,  some 3000 gravestones have been preserved, the oldest of which dates back to 1831. There are ohels of noted rabbis as well as a Holocaust mass grave.

SEJNY

“White synagogue” built in 1885; former Yeshiva; former Jewish school. Remnant of Jewish cemetery (with memorial to the destroyed Jewish community).

The NGO Borderland Foundation  uses the former Jewish sites as its premises. The Foundation carries out many projects to restore Jewish memory and culture as well as promote inter-ethnic understanding.

SOKOLOW PODLASKI

A web site and blog devoted to Jewish heritage and history in this town in east-central Poland, with photos and an interactive map of sites (both surviving sites and buildings as well as places with the destroyed synagogue, Jewish cemetery and other sites once stood).

Few heritage sites have been left intact, but the web site features an online Walking Tour of what remains.

SZYDŁOWIEC

Jewish cemetery

ul. Wschodnia

Listed as a national heritage monument, the cemetery has about 3,000 stones, many highly decorated. According to the National Heritage Board, the gravestones from three Jewish cemeteries are located on the site: The oldest cemetery was established around 1788 and functioned until 1943.  A second was founded nearby in 1811. A cholera cemetery was founded 1831 and as of 1918 was joined to the other cemeteries. In 1957, the oldest two cemeteries were closed down to make way for construction on their sites, and their gravestones were relocated to the current cemetery site. The oldest gravestone dates from 1831.

Synagogue

ul. Gabarska 3

The town’s synagogue was destroyed but a small private prayer house, built by the Ajzenburg family remains standing.

A sukkah dating from the 1920s and attached to a dwelling house was discovered in 2007 and in 2008 was disassembled, removed and turned over to the museum in nearby Radom for restoration.

Holocaust-era Photo Album from Szydlowiec

Yad Vashem has digitized a private photo album, possibly of a German policeman, that includes photos of gravestones in the Jewish cemetery, a synagogue, scenes from the Szydlowiec ghetto.

The Tale of Szydlowiec. Memory and Oblivion in a Former Shtetl in Poland.

An article by Barbara Törnquist-Plewa on the fate of post-Holocaust Jewish memory and heritage sites in Szydłowiec.

TARNÓW

Well-preserved and documented Jewish cemetery (currently undergoing extensive restoration); old Jewish quarter; former Jewish bathhouse. All that remains of the great synagogue is the four-pillared Bimah, which stands as a monument and memorial.

Tarnow on Virtual Shtetl

Jewish Cemetery

ul. Szpitalna

One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Poland, probably  founded in the latter part of the 16th century. The oldest known gravestone is from 1688. There are around 3,000 gravestones. The site is listed as a historic cultural monument and is currently undergoing renovation.

Jewish Trail in Tarnów

Prepared by the town’s Tourist Information Center, the trail provides online information on major Jewish sites — Bimah, Jewish street, cemetery, and more. (This site also works and provides the same information.)

Web site of the Committee for the Protection of Jewish Heritage in Tarnów

Founded in 1988 and affiliated with the Regional Museum, the Committee organizes and facilitates a number of cultural and educational activities and preservation projects in Tarnów and other nearby places. It received a major grant for the restoration of the Jewish cemetery. See Facebook page of the Committee.

Tarnow Jewish heritage PDF

Illustrated downloadable excerpt from Jewish Roots in Poland, by Miriam Weiner

Jewish cemetery on kirkuty (extensive information in Polish)

TYKOCIN

Synagogue Museum (Jewish section of District Museum of Bialystok)

Oddział Muzeum Podlaskiego w Białymstoku
ul. Kozia 2
16-080 Tykocin
Tel: +48 085 718 16 13
Fax: +48 085 718 16 26
Email: synagoga@muzeum.bialystok.pl

Housed since 1977 in the restored Great Synagogue (originally built in 1642); exhibition of Judaica with the main exhibit the restored synagogue itself.

Virtual tour of the synagogue and museum

WROCŁAW

Active Jewish community, historic Jewish compound centered on the White Stork synagogue; two Jewish cemeteries. Before World War II, Wroclaw was the German city Breslau, which had the third largest Jewish community in Germany. The city’s Great Synagogue was destroyed on Kristallnacht, but in 2017 archaeologists revealed its foundations.

White Stork Synagogue & Jewish compound

Neoclassical synagogue, in a courtyard that is part of a Jewish communal complex. Built in 1827-29 and designed by Karl Ferdinand Langhans. Restored and rededicated in 2010, thanks largely to the efforts of the Bente Kahan Foundation. There is a permanent exhibition on Jewish history in the women’s gallery.

The Jewish compound also includes a historic Mikveh. Restoration of it began in 2017, to bring it back to its function as a ritual bath and also an exhibition space. There is also a small Beit Midrash, which also underwent recent renovation.

Jewish Cemeteries

Jewish Cemetery on ul. Lotnicza

Founded at the end of the 19th century, it was long overgrown but has undergrown recent restoration work and is still used by the Jewish community

Old Jewish Cemetery 

Museum of Cemetery Art
Ślężna 37/39
Tel: +48 (0) 71 79 59 04 or 79159 03

Founded in 1856, it has about 12,000 gravestones and covers 4.6 hectares. It was listed as a national historic landmark in 1975 and since 1991 has been administered as a Museum of Cemetery Art that is part of the city museum. This cemetery has many elaborate tombsand is the final resting place of luminaries such as the socialist politician Ferdinand Lassalle (1825 – 1864), and the parents of the Jewish intellectural Edith Stein (who converted to Catholicism, became a nun, was killed at Auschwitz, and was proclaimed a saint by Pope John Paul II).

Bente Kahan Foundation

Online guide to Jewish heritage in Wroclaw

WRONKI

Jewish Cemeteries/Monument

The two Jewish cemeteries were destroyed by the Nazis and their stones were  broken and used as paving. In 2011, about 500 fragments were recovered, and used to construct a memorial lapidarium in Wronki dedicated in 2014.

Facebook page of the Lapidarium

Photo documentation of the cemeteries and recovered stones before the lapidarium was built

 Read blog posts describing the lapidarium by Marysia Galbraith HERE and HERE and HERE

See a video of the Lapidarium:

ZAMOŚĆ

Imposing Renaissance synagogue in the heart of Zamość’s old town, used after World War II as a library. Restored as a project of the FODZ, which took ownership in 2005, with funding from the  EEA and Norway Grants, the World Monuments Fund and others, it was rededicated and reopened in 2011 as the “Synagogue Center,” an information and culture center with an exhibition on Jewish history that is the anchor of the Chassidic Route tourism itinerary.

Other sites in town include: monument built of fragmentsof matzevot at the site of  the Jewish cemetery (Prosta St.), which was destroyed in WW2. The synagoguein the New Town (32 Gminna St.) which was transformed for used as a  a kindergarten and church. There is a former mikveh at  In the former mikvah (3 Zamenhofa St.).

See World Monuments Fund pages about the Zamość synagogue and its restoration

PDF Brochure about the Synagogue and its Revitalization

Downloadable PDF brochure about  Jewish history and sites in Zamość

Organization of Zamość Jewry

Group of descendants of Jewish from Zamość and other towns in the vicinity, with photos, documents and other material, including on the synagogue

See a lecture by FODZ CEO Monika Krawczyk about the restoration of the Zamosc synagogue:

ŻARKI

Before WW2, Jews made up the majority of the population in this small town in central Poland. Much of the Jewish built heritage of the town was destroyed, but much still remains: synagogue (now used as a culture center), the new Jewish cemetery, typical houses and shops. The Silesian Voyvoidship Authority and the local municipality have financed a Jewish Culture Trail, available online in both English and Polish, that  takes in houses and shops, urban structure, the surviving synagogue, the surviving Jewish cemetery, the WW2 ghetto and provides historical details.

Jewish Culture Trail of Żarki