Leczyca Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Łódzkie Voivodeship
District
Łęczyca
Settlement
Łęczyca
Site address
2, Popiełuszki Street.
GPS coordinates
52.0623198, 19.1945958
Perimeter length
497 meters
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery area was completely overbuilt and permanently transformed. Currently, there are buildings of the National Defence League and private properties on the site.
Number of existing gravestones
No tombstones preserved.
Date of oldest tombstone
1820 (the tombstone is in the local museum)
Date of newest tombstone
N/A
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Private
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The Łęczyca Jewish cemetery is located at Ks. Jerzego Popiełuszki Street, less than a kilometre from the town centre. The cemetery’s exact establishment date is unknown, though it was probably established in the second half of the 15th century. In the 1830s, the area of the cemetery was expanded. Due to the conflict between the Malbim and other members of the community, his opponents were buried in the old part of the cemetery, and his supporters in the new part. Until World War II, there was the ohel of the Auerbach family in the cemetery, where, among others, sofer and rabbi of Łęczyca Chaim Auerbach, and his son Izaak Chaim Auerbach, who was also a rabbi and sofer, were buried. In 1939, the cemetery was damaged. By the decision of the Łęczyca starost, W. Jost, the tombstones were taken from the cemetery and then used as paving slabs on Belwederska Street which led to the railway station. After 1945, the cemetery area was designated for housing construction by decision of the local authorities. Currently, in the area of the cemetery, there is a vehicle inspection station. Three preserved tombstones are in the Museum of the Łęczyca Region, the oldest of which dates to 1820. The cemetery covered an area of approximately 14.7 hectares. A description of the cemetery can be found in the book “Sefer Linshits” (“Memorial Book of Leczyca”) by Isaac Frenkel, published in 1953 in Tel Aviv.

Łęczyca was granted town rights before 1267 and become the capital of the Principality of Łęczyca. The first Jewish settlement in the town dates to the 15th century. In the mid-18th century, the Jewish community in Łęczyca was the largest Jewish community in central Poland. Rabbis of the community include Rabbi Icchak Chaim Auerbach, and Rabbi Meir ben Jehiel Weiser, known as the Malbim. At the end of the 19th century, 3,639 Jews lived in the town, constituting 45% of the total population. During World War II, the Germans established a ghetto in the town. The liquidation of the ghetto took place on April 10-12, 1942. 2,000 Jews were transported to the extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem.