Krakow Old Jewish Cemetery
The first records of Jews in Kraków date to the 12th century. At the end of the 15th century, Jewish settlement began to develop in Kazimierz, which, in 1800, was incorporated into Kraków. One of Kraków’s most famous rabbis was Mosze Isserles (Remu), author of Ha-Mapah. Most of Kraków’s Jews were murdered during the Holocaust. Currently, there are over a dozen Jewish organizations in the city. The cemetery is located between Szeroka and Jakuba Streets, in the immediate vicinity of the Remah Synagogue, and covers a plot shaped like a letter L, with an area of approximately 0.78 hectares. The cemetery – called Remu from the acronym for “Rabbi Moshe Isserles” (רבי משה איסרלש) – was established in the first half of the 16th century. The plot was purchased in 1533 and the kehilla received permission from the king and city authorities to establish a cemetery in the same year. The first burials took place in 1551, during the plague epidemic. Local rabbis buried in the cemetery include: Mosze Isserles (Remu, died 1572), Mordechaj, son of Szmuel Margulies (died 1616), Natan Nate Spira (died 1633), Gerszon Saul Jomtow Heller (died 1654), and Joel, son of Szmuel Sirkes (died 1640). In 1799, for sanitary reasons, the Court of Western Galicia ordered the cemetery to be closed. In the 19th century, intermittent burials took place there. During World War II, the Remu cemetery was partially damaged. In 1959, several hundred tombstones were discovered under the layer of soil during archaeological excavations. Less damaged stelae and sarcophagi were placed vertically (most of them in places not related to the actual places of burial). Fragments of tombstones were attached to the cemetery wall. In 1961, the Minister of Municipal Economy signed an order to close the cemetery. Since 1988, the cemetery has been gradually restored. Currently, there are 711 tombstones in the cemetery, the oldest of which dates to the 16th century. The area is fenced and regularly cleaned up. The owner of the cemetery is the Jewish Community in Krakow. The facility is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Małopolskie Voivodeship.