Belchatow New Jewish Cemetery
Following the growth of the Jewish community in Bechłatów, a new cemetery was established in 1893. It was located at Lipowa Street (currently the intersection of Lipowa and Włókniarzy Streets), near the Catholic cemetery. The Jewish cemetery had an acreage of 1.69 hectares. During World War II it was completely destroyed by the occupying Germans. Matzevot were used to pave roads and sidewalks, as well for foundations in construction, and regulating the Widawka river basin. After the war, the remaining fragments of tombstones were used to build a small lapidary. In the 1960s the local government decided to create a “Millennium Park” over the area of the cemetery and the lapidary was destroyed during the construction. Only in 1991 was the park area maintained. In 1992, on the 50th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto, a memorial was erected in central part of the cemetery which used some of the surviving tombstone fragments. There is an inscription in Polish, English, and Yiddish which reads the following: “Jewish cemetery destroyed by Nazi occupants”. Larger tombstone fragments are gathered in the cellars of Olszewskich Manor, currently owned by the Regional Museum. In 2019 during renovations to a bridge along Cegielniana Stree,t several dozen tombstone fragments were discovered, and were transported to the site of the cemetery. There are plans to establish a “Memorial park” at the site of the cemetery.
Bełchatów was founded in 1737. In the 19th century it was one of 246 cities where Jewish residents were not subject to settlement restrictions. As a result, in 1809. Jewish residents comprised 11% of the total population, and 80% by 1864. An independent kehilla (organized Jewish community) was founded in Bełchatów in 1820, and by 1824 the community had its own cemetery and synagogue. Anti-Semitic laws were implemented in 1939 following the German occupation of the city. On March 1, 1941, a ghetto was established in the area bordered by Fabryczna, Pabianicka, Sienkiewicza Streets, and Narutowicza Square. In August 1942, the Germans began to liquidate the ghetto. Most of the residents were transported to the death camp in Chełmno.