Chmielnik New Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Kielce
Settlement
Chmielnik
Site address
28, Mrucza Street.
GPS coordinates
50.61824, 20.75253
Perimeter length
561 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
There is a stone wall, 1 metre high, on the eastern, northern, and western sides and a metal fence, 1,7 metres high on the south.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery was destroyed during WW2 and was rebuilt in 2008. Most of the tombstones were recovered and installed in their current place. A large part of the tombstones found in Chmielnik are now in the lapidarium in the cemetery.
Number of existing gravestones
225. 25 tombstones (both intact and fragments), were installed on the ground, and about 200 fragments of tombstones were placed in the lapidarium.
Date of oldest tombstone
1891
Date of newest tombstone
1935
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The first Jewish settlement in Chmielnik likely dates back to the 17th century. In 1939, 5,908 Jews lived in the town, which was 87% of the total population. The majority of them were murdered by the Germans in 1942. A synagogue has survived, which now is a seat for the “Świętokrzyski Shtetl” Educational and Museum Center.

The cemetery is located around 400 meters north-east of the market square, at Mrucza Street, and covers a plot of land shaped like an elongated triangle with an area of approximately 1 hectare.

The cemetery was established in 1820 and it was fenced from its inception. There was a funeral house at the entrance. The funerals were organized by the Chevra Kadisha and the Last Service Association brotherhoods.

During World War II, the cemetery became the site of numerous executions. In October 1942, around 200 people were killed during the liquidation of the ghetto. During the war, the cemetery was gradually devastated. Many tombstones were stolen by residents of Chmielnik and the surrounding villages, including inhabitants of Suchowola, over 2km away.

In 1964, the Minister of Municipal Economy issued a decision to close the cemetery.

The description of both Jewish cemeteries in Chmielnik from 1987 stated: “The cemeteries practically do not exist anymore. There are no elements typical of Jewish cemeteries.“

In 2008, on the initiative of the Chmielnik Cultural Association, thanks to the funds from Szmuel Kalisz and Josef Kalisz, the cemetery was fenced and cleaned up. Several dozen tombstones found in the town were placed at the cemetery. The maintenance of the matzevot was financed by the Rural Development Foundation. At the cemetery, there is also a contemporary tombstone commemorating Rabbi Aharon Szmuel Kajdanower (who died in 1676), unrelated to the place of his burial.

The cemetery is owned by the Chmielnik Municipality, which takes care of regular cleaning works. The cemetery is not listed in the National Register of Monuments. It is entered in the Provincial Register of Monuments.