Starachowice Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Starachowice
Settlement
Starachowice
Site address
21, Bieszczadzka Street.
GPS coordinates
51.034858, 21.077882
Perimeter length
228 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The fence is constructed from metal spans separated by stone pillars.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is fenced. Many tombstones have been preserved. Lots of rubbish was found along the fence. The outer edges are now occupied by private estates - part of the cemetery has been overbuilt with single-family houses.
Number of existing gravestones
There are about 500 gravestones preserved.
Date of oldest tombstone
1883
Date of newest tombstone
1936
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
State
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Starachowice and Wierzbnik, were separate cities between 1624–1870 and 1916–1939, however since then Wierzbnik has been a district within Starachowice. The first Jewish settlement recorded in either of these cities dates back to the 19th century. In 1934, the local Jewish community totaled approximately 3,900 people. The majority of them were murdered by the Germans in 1942.

The cemetery was established in 1891 in the south-eastern part of the city, at today’s Bieszczadzka Street. In the 1930s, the cemetery was surrounded by a brick wall.

During World War II, the Germans carried out executions at the cemetery. The bodies of the victims were buried there. People murdered in Starachowice at the end of 1945 were likely also buried in the cemetery.

The cemetery survived the war in a relatively good condition. However in the following decades, it was devastated. Some tombstones were stolen and used for various purposes, such as building material. The far parts of the cemetery were built over with single-family houses and a street and the land was used as an illegal garbage dump.

On June 22nd 1964, the Minister of Municipal Economy issued a decision to close the 0.42 hectare cemetery.

In the 1990s, the vacant part of the cemetery was fenced. The fencing works were financed by the city authorities of Starachowice and the Wiecznej Pamięci Foundation. Currently, the cemetery is taken care of by the city authorities, local community activists, and Jews from Starachowice who live outside Poland.

Within the cemetery, there are around 400 tombstones in various conditions, and a significant part of them are placed in their original location. The foundations of the ohel of an unidentified rabbi or tzadik are visible in the north-eastern sector of the cemetery. A lapidarium with fragments of damaged tombstones has been arranged at the gate. At the cemetery, the gate wing from the original pre-war fence has been secured and exposed.

The list of preserved tombstones is available at https://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/list/c_96.

The owner of the cemetery is the State Treasury. The property is listed in the Register of Real Estate Monuments of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship (No. A.822, March 2, 1991).