Szydlow Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship
District
Staszów
Settlement
Szydłów
Site address
The cemetery area is located along the southern side of Kielecka Street and its north-western corner is adjacent to 21, Kielecka Street.
GPS coordinates
50.58916, 20.99816
Perimeter length
377 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
There is a metal fence (2 metres high) along western and northern borders of the cemetery, the other sides are unfenced.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
It is a demolished cemetery, where no tombstones have survived on the site. In the western part of the cemetery area there is a pile of 18 fragments of matzevot next to the fence. The adjacent land is in private residential and agricultural use. It is unknown if there are any mass graves, none are marked. There is a wooden Holocaust memorial in shape of matzevah.
Number of existing gravestones
No tombstones have been preserved in their original places. 18 pieces of matzevot have been placed in a pile next to the cemetery fence. 20 fragments of tombstones, presumably from Szydłów cemetery are kept in the synagogue in Szydłowiec (Targowa 3, Szydłowiec).
Date of oldest tombstone
1894 (fragment in the pile), 1731 (fragment in the synagogue)
Date of newest tombstone
1930 (fragment in the synagogue)
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The first Jewish settlement in Szydłów dates back to the 14th or 15th century. A structured Jewish community existed in Szydłów from at least 1468. In 1939, the local Jewish community totaled approximately 1,500 people. The majority of Szydłów’s Jews were murdered by the Germans in 1942. A synagogue (erected in 1534–1564) has been preserved.

The cemetery is located in the western part of the town, around 100m from the city walls, on the northern side of Kielecka Street, across the Cieka river. The cemetery is located within the boundaries of plot no. 641 with an area of 0.83 hectares.
The cemetery was established no later than in the second half of the 15th century. The first mention of the cemetery was in 1470 when the rights for it were granted by Kazimierz Jagiellończyk.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the cemetery was surrounded by a stone wall. In 1930, the area was at capacity, however the authorities of the Jewish community in Szydłów did not plan to establish a new cemetery.

During World War II, the cemetery became a burial place for the victims of the Holocaust, including the ones killed during the liquidation of the ghetto in 1942 and those murdered in 1943.
The cemetery was severely devastated. According to the report of the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Szydłów, in 1946 there were still 1,141 “completely neglected” graves at the cemetery, and at that time the area was used as a pasture for farm animals. The tombstones and the wall were gradually dismantled by some inhabitants of Szydłów and its surroundings.

In 2017-2018, the Nissenbaum Family Foundation built a partial metal and concrete fence around the site. Periodic cleaning works are conducted by members of the Society of the Friends of the Szydłów Region. The owner of the cemetery is the City and Municipality of Szydłów.

In the Regional Museum in Szydłów, there are a dozen or so matzevot in various conditions. The oldest obe dates back to 1628-1629, and there is a miniature matzevah belonging to Gerszon Josef’s son, Awraham Aharon Podolski, who died on January 11, 1938.