Opoczno Old Jewish Cemetery
Opoczno was established at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries under the Środa law. The first records of the Jewish population in Opoczno are from 1501. In 1646, Jews received a permit to build a synagogue and establish a cemetery. In 1667, the town was inhabited by 401 people, including 32 Jews. In 1790, there were 477 Jews (42.7% of the total population), in 1863 – 1703 (57.1%). The Jewish community owned a brick synagogue, a cheder, a brick bathhouse, and two cemeteries. Opoczno was a promiment center of Hasidism. According to data from 1937, 3,400 Jews lived in Opoczno during that period. At the end of 1940, the Germans established a ghetto in Opoczno. The liquidation of the ghetto began on October 27, 1942. Nearly 3,000 people were transported to the death camp at Treblinka, and 200 people died during the liquidation of the ghetto. The 500 Jews who were left in the town were transported to the temporary camp in Ujazd, and then later on to the extermination camp at Treblinka.
The old Jewish cemetery of Opoczno was most likely established in 1646 next to the newly-built synagogue. The cemetery served the community until the first half of the 19th century when was a shortage of places for burials. During World War II, the cemetery was destroyed by the Germans. Stolen matzevot were used to harden roads. After 1945, the necropolis was further devastated. In the 1970s, by the decision of the authorities, the area of the cemetery was designated as a PKS bus base. No traces of the old cemetery have survived to the present day.
Fragments of matzevot found after the war are now located in the Regional Museum in Opoczno. Some of them can be seen at the permanent exhibition, others, in the castle area along the wall at Szewska Street.