Iwaniska Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Opatów
Settlement
Iwaniska
Site address
The cemetery does not have an address. Moving west on Rakowska Street, turn right onto a gravel road right after the historic chapel. The cemetery is located on the left hand side of the road in the fields, around 500 metres from the crossroads.
GPS coordinates
50.7330056, 21.2579978
Perimeter length
532 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
There is a stone wall about 1 metre high, with a metal gate and a wicket.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is located in a rural area and is surrounded by land in agricultural use. The entrance area is covered wild grass. The cemetery area is accessible only up to the memorial obelisk: behind the obelisk there is a dense thicket. Fragments of matzevot are embedded in the wall. There is a memorial to the local victims of Holocaust, built in 2006.
Number of existing gravestones
No tombstones are preserved in situ. 51 fragments are embedded in the cemetery wall.
Date of oldest tombstone
1871 (fragment)
Date of newest tombstone
1925 (fragment)
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Other
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The first records of the presence of a Jewish community in Iwaniska comes from 1578. During the census of 1921, 1,518 inhabitants, which was 54.15% of the entire population, declared their Jewish faith, while 1,381 declared Jewish nationality. The majority of them were killed in the death camp in Treblinka in the fall of 1942.

The cemetery is located around 1km north-west of the Market Square, at the junction of the roads to Pozaldów and Zielonka. The cemetery is located on a plot of irregular shape, similar to an elongated triangle, with an approximate area of 0.75 hectares. The date of the establishment of the cemetery is unknown.

The cemetery served as a burial place until World War II. Among others, the bodies of people killed during the extermination of the Jewish community in October 1942 were buried there. At that time, the destruction of the cemetery by the local population began. The tombstones were removed and used as building material. The graves, including one where religious books were buried before the liquidation of the ghetto, were plundered. In the following decades, the cemetery was used as a pasture.

On March 31st 1970, the Ministry of the Municipal Economy, responding to the resolution of the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Iwaniska on April 25th 1964, issued a decision to close and liquidate the cemetery. The documentation attached to the decision stated that the cemetery was abandoned property, and was located on plot no. 804 with an area of 0.6870 hectares, and that the last funeral took place in 1948.

In 1985, the cemetery was unfenced, without any visible tombstones, and overgrown with dense, untreated vegetation. The cemetery records list “oblivion and overgrowth” as threats.

In 2006, the cemetery was cleaned up and fenced with a stone wall to which fragments of recovered matzevot were attached. In the western part of the plot, a monument commemorating the Jews of Iwaniska was erected.

The owner of the cemetery is the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage. The facility has been entered into the Provincial Register of Monuments.