Bierun Jewish Cemetery
The Bieruń Jewish cemetery was established in 1778 in the current district of Bieruń Stary, near the Mleczna River, on the outskirts of the town. It covers an area of about 0.95 hectares. At the end of the 19th century, it was surrounded by a stone wall, the eastern and western parts of which have survived until now. At the end of the 1980s, the town authorities renovated the fence and installed a gate decorated with a menorah. The oldest burials are in the eastern part of the cemetery. The oldest identified tombstone dates to 1818 and is made of sandstone. There are also granite tombstones in the cemetery. The stelae were produced by the following stonemasons: M. Pick from Gliwice, K. Pokorny and Rosenthal from Katowice, and A. J. Wulkan from Oświęcim. There are inscriptions in German and Hebrew on the tombstones. The most recent identified matzevot is from the interwar period. In total, 47 stelae have been preserved in the cemetery and the burial plots are organized in rows. In recent years, the cemetery has undergone renovation: the wall was renovated, the greenery was trimmed, the historical layout of the paths was restored, and the cemetery was marked with an information board.
Bieruń was granted town rights in 1387. Until the mid-16th century, it belonged to the Silesian Piasts and was an important centre of trade. The first Jews began to settle there in the Middle Ages, though the Jewish community only began to grow at the beginning of the 18th century. A kehilla (independent Jewish community) which included Jews from neighbouring villages, already existed by the mid-18th century, and was formally legalized in 1812. In 1840, 364 Jews belonged to the kehilla. After the construction of the railway line connecting Upper Silesia with Galicia, bypassing Bieruń, the town’s stature and Jewish population decreased. In 1910, only 157 people belonged to the kehilla. In 1921, Bieruń was incorporated into Poland. The local Jews, who were more closely associated with German culture, gradually left the town. By 1939, only a dozen or so Jews remained. During World War II, those who did not leave were transferred to the ghettos in Będzin and Sosnowiec and then deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.