Krakow Podgorze New 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 in the southern part of the city, in the former village of Wola Duchacka, on Abraham Street, and covers an area of about 10 hectares. The land of the cemetery was purchased by the Jewish community of Krakow between 1919 and 1921. In the following years, a wall and a funeral house were constructed, as well as a building for the Chevra Kadisha (burial society). The opening ceremony took place on April 6, 1932, and city authorities issued official permission to open the cemetery on August 17, 1932. The cemetery had two addresses: 3 Abrahama Street and 14 Jerozolimska Street. After the start of World War II, the cemetery was still in use for burial purposes. In the fall of 1942, the Germans established a forced labour camp in Płaszów, which, in 1944, was converted into a concentration camp. By order of the Germans, the forced labourers tore out the tombstones from the cemetery and used them to pave the roads in the camp. Barracks were erected in the cemetery as well as an assembly square. In the south-west area of the cemetery, a water reservoir was dug for firefighting purposes. The Chevra Kadisha building was used as housing for SS officers and as a prison. The Germans used the funeral house as a stable, and in 1944, they demolished the building. After 1945, the Red Army was stationed at the cemetery for several years. As a result of the devastation, any traces of the cemetery and its borders are imperceptible. The ruins of the pre-funeral house and the building of the Chevra Kadisha are in the eastern part of the cemetery. In 2003, a matzevah for Sara Schenirer—the founder of Beis Yaakov—was erected nearby. Plans are currently underway for commemoration of the cemetery and KL Płaszow. The owners of the cemetery are the Municipality of Krakow and the Jewish Community in Krakow. The facility is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments as “Płaszów, the area of the former concentration camp together with Szary Dom.”