Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski Jewish Cemetery
The first Jewish settlement in Ostrowiec dates back to the 16th century. In 1921, 10,095 Jews lived in the town. The majority of them were murdered by the Germans in Treblinka in 1942.
The cemetery is located approximately 300m north-west of the market square, on a hill between Iłżecka, Sienkiewicza, and Mickiewicza Streets. The cemetery was established no later than in the mid-17th century. The oldest record of its existence dates back to 1657. The area was gradually enlarged. Before 1939, the cemetery was fenced and covered a square area of over 3 hectares.
During World War II, at the behest of the Germans, some tombstones were used to pave the streets. The cemetery was a place of execution, and the bodies of those killed or who died in the ghetto were also buried there. It is estimated that around 2,000 victims were buried in the cemetery at that time.
The last burials took place after the Eastern Front had passed. In March 1945, four people were buried at 34 Radomska Street. On May 11th 1947, the bodies of members of the Sztein family, who were murdered by a Pole just prior to the arrival of the Red Army and who’s corpses were hidden in a well on private property, were also moved to the cemetery.
The devastation of the cemetery was continued by some residents and the city authorities. On December 10th 1955, the Minister of Municipal Economy issued an order to close the cemetery. Around 1960, a park was established in its place. A lapidarium was arranged on the edge of the cemetery, consisting of around 200 displaced tombstones.
In 2018, at the initiative of Meir Bulka from the J-nerations organization, the ohel of tzaddik Meir Jechiel ha-Lewi Halsztok was rebuilt. In recent years, local community activists have revealed that tombstones were used for construction works in the city, including the wall of the municipal cemetery and the properties at Mickiewicza Street and Sienkiewicza Street.
The owner of the cemetery is the State Treasury. The property has been entered into the Register of Immovable Monuments.
The list of the remaining preserved tombstones is available at the website of the POLIN museum.