Limanowa Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Limanowa was likely established in the mid-19th century. It is located on a hillside north of the town centre and covers an area of 0.4 hectares. During World War II, many mass and individual executions were carried out in the cemetery. Many matzevot were also destroyed at that time, and the cemetery continued to fall into further disrepair in the post-war years. The tombstones were used as construction material, such as for hardening streets and the market square, as well as for building stone benches. About twenty sandstone slabs (only several with the preserved inscriptions) and the bases of the tombstones (which have sunk into the ground) have survived. In the 1970s and 1990s, at the initiative of Leib Gatterer from Dobra and Henryk Rosenbaum, two monuments dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust were erected in the cemetery. The cemetery was then enclosed with a net, which was later replaced with a metal fence. The cemetery is regularly cleaned. In Stara Wieś, on the site of a mass grave, a symbolic wooden matzevah was erected at the initiative of the Zapomniane Foundation.
Limanowa was first mentioned in 1476 and was granted town rights in 1565. Jewish settlement in the town dates to the beginning of the 17th century and the first written records of the Jews of Limanowa come from 1640. In 1761, 21 Jews lived in the town. Though initially subordinate to the kehilla in Wiśnicz, an independent Jewish community was likely established in the second half of the 19th century. In 1841, the community numbered 100 people (12.7% of the population), and in 1890, the population increased to 571 (35.6%). Limanowa significantly developed following the construction of a railway connection in 1884–1885. Some bloody battles took place in Limanowa during World War I. In 1914, a battle between the Russians and the Austrians took place there, following which approximately 42,000 soldiers died.
In 1939, over 1,000 Jews lived in the town. During World War II, a ghetto was established in the town, in which Jews from nearby towns were also confined (about 2,000 people in total). Many Jews were killed during numerous executions in the town and surrounding villages. The largest execution took place in Stara Wieś in 1941 during which 167 Jews were shot. The total number of people murdered in places across the town—including the Jewish cemetery—amounts to over 500 individuals. On July 17, 1942, the Limanowa ghetto was liquidated. About 160 men were transported to the labour camp in Sowliny, some 200 people were murdered in the second execution in Stara Wieś, and the rest were forced to walk to the ghetto in Nowy Sącz, from where they were deported to the Bełżec extermination camp.