Klimontow Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Klimontów
Settlement
Klimontów
Site address
The cemetery occupies the area near 1, Szkolna Street.
GPS coordinates
50.655546, 21.452991
Perimeter length
395 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
It is a demolished and overbuilt cemetery. Currently, there is a school on the cemetery's territory. In the corner of the school playground there is a small lapidarium, where the remains of matzevot are kept. The lapidarium is fenced with a metal fence about 30cm high. In the middle there is a very large bush that covers all the tiles. In addition, there is a lot of rubbish inside the lapidarium.
Number of existing gravestones
There are about 20. It is difficult to say exactly how many fragments have been preserved in the lapidarium. Its interior is overgrown with a very dense shrub that hides matzevot. No intact tombstones have been preserved.
Date of oldest tombstone
N/A
Date of newest tombstone
N/A
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The Jewish cemetery in Klimontów was located southeast of the market square, next to the synagogue. It was most likely established in the 18th century and covered an area of 1.5 hectares. In the interwar period, it was surrounded by a wall that was renovated in 1931. There was a Chevra Kadisha (burial society) in the town. There was also a guard’s house in the cemetery. In the budget of the Jewish community from 1929, an additional fee for the purchase of a new cemetery—which was to be established at Osiecka Street—was introduced. However, the establishment of the planned cemetery did not take place.

During World War II, the Jewish cemetery was partially destroyed by the Germans. Individual and mass executions of Jews took place in the cemetery. In 1943, residents dug up the mass grave of 68 people murdered on November 30, 1942, searching for valuables. A genizah (the burial place for sacred books) was also desecrated, and fragments of the Torah were used as shoe inserts. After the war, about 40 tombstones remained in the cemetery. In the post-war years, locals continued to steal tombstones from the cemetery until the 1950s, when the area was designated for a school and a sports field. The dug-up bones were placed in a shared grave beside the sports field. The preserved fragments of matzevot were placed in the corner of the sports field behind a small fence. There are old photos of the cemetery before it was destroyed on Yad Vashem’s website. There are souvenirs related to Bruno Jasieński (originally Wiktor Zysman) and other Jewish inhabitants of the town who lived there in the interwar period available for purchase at the private Klimontów Memorial Chamber at 20 Opatowska Street

The first Jews settled in Klimontów after 1611. In the first half of the 17th century, they belonged to the Jewish community in Opatów, and by 1727 they had their own independent community. By 1721, Jews constituted half of the town’s population. In 1862, 1,318 Jews (68.6% of the total population) lived in the town. In 1939, the Jewish community had 425 members, including their families. In 1940, the Germans established a ghetto in Klimontów where about 4,000 people were gathered. Approximately 1,000 of them were sent there from other towns. On October 29, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated, and the Jews were first deported to Sandomierz, and then to Treblinka.