Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Ostrowiec
Settlement
Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski
Site address
The cemetery is located adjacent to 22, Henryka Sienkiewicza Street.
GPS coordinates
50.942465, 21.384083
Perimeter length
758 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
The part of the park containing matzevot is fenced. The fence is metal and around 2 metres high. The metal spans are connected by concrete poles.
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
In the 1950s, the cemetery was transformed into a municipal park. The tombstones collected from the cemetery were placed in the south-eastern area of the park. The entire area of the park, where the cemetery was located, is full of litter.
Number of existing gravestones
There are 157 tombstones and hundreds of broken pieces of tombstones. In the south-eastern part of the park, 157 tombstones, largely preserved in full, have been laid. Moreover, fragments of tombstones found in the city are stored in the lapidarium. Some of the tombstones were used as building material and are located in the wall of the municipal cemetery on Długa Street. About 50m from the lapidarium there is an Ohel dedicated to Tzadik Meir Jechiel ha-Lewi Halsztok.
Date of oldest tombstone
1792
Date of newest tombstone
1937
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
State
Preserved construction on site
There is an ohel dedicated to Tzadik Meir Jechiel ha-Lewi Halsztok.
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

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.