Krzepice Jewish Cemetery
The Krzepice Jewish cemetery is located at Nadrzeczna Street, about 1.7 km southwest of the town centre, near the bridge over the Liswarta River. It is situated on flat terrain, surrounded by wastelands and arable fields. The cemetery’s exact establishment date is unknown, though it is known that it existed as early as 1740 – the year in which the oldest preserved tombstone is dated. The last known burial took place in 1946. The area of the cemetery is approximately 1.4 hectares. Originally, the cemetery area was surrounded by a limestone wall with a gate and a wooden fence on one side. The historic fence has only been preserved in fragments. Until today, 310 stone and 402 cast-iron tombstones have been preserved in the cemetery. There are inscriptions in Hebrew on the matzevot. The cemetery in Krzepice is one of the largest clusters of cast iron matzevot in Europe, most of which were made in the smelter in Kuźnica Stara.
After World War II, the cemetery fell into disrepair. In 1997, the Polish Union of Jewish Students partially restored the cemetery and created an inventory of the tombstones. In 2000, young people from Poland and Israel carried out cleaning and renovation work in the cemetery as part of the “Antyschematy” project. Among other things, the cast iron matzevot were cleaned and protected with paint. In 2009, as part of the same project, the cemetery was cleaned up by a group of young people from Warsaw. In July 2011, a few cast-iron tombstones were stolen from the cemetery, but thanks to the help of one of the inhabitants, the matzevot were found at a scrapyard. In 2013, at the initiative of an anonymous descendant of Jews from Klepice, a monument designed by Romuald Cieśla was erected in the cemetery. It was dedicated to the memory of the Lipszyc and Zelcer families. In 2014, at the request of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Foundation for the Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries carried out an inventory and photographic documentation of the tombstones located in the Klepice cemetery. By the decision of May 27, 1988, the cemetery was included in the Register of Monuments (A / 426/88).
Krzepice was granted town rights in 1347. The beginnings of Jewish settlement in the town date back to the beginning of the 17th century. Over the years, the Jewish population was as follows: 116 in 1765, 322 in 1808 (21% of the total population), 1,057 in 1875 (49%), 1,772 in 1921 (43%). During World War II, in the spring of 1940, a ghetto was created in Krzepice, in which about 1,800 Jews were gathered. During the liquidation of the ghetto, in June and July 1942, all the Jews were deported to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau.