Widawa Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Łódzkie Voivodeship
District
Łask
Settlement
Widawa
Site address
The cemetery is located to the rear of 17, Kiełczygłowska Street.
GPS coordinates
51.430695, 18.9365029
Perimeter length
401 meters
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery is fenced off by the surrounding property, with a metal mesh fence about 1.6m high and a concrete wall with a barbed wire about 2m high.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is located at the back of 17, Kiełczygłowska Street, where there is a butcher's shop. You can get to the cemetery either through the gate at the back of the butcher's shop or through the gate in the wall next to the motorcycle parts store (this gate was closed). The area is quite well-kept and covered with grass. One tombstone has been preserved in its original place, and there are many preserved matzevot placed along the fence.
Number of existing gravestones
143. There is one tombstone in its original place in the cemetery. In addition, 142 (damaged) matzevot were returned to Widawa cemetery in October 2020. Previously, they were used as a pavement at the old mill in Wola Kleszczowa.
Date of oldest tombstone
1923
Date of newest tombstone
1940
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Other
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Widawa was founded in 1388 as a city, was later demoted in 1870, and is now a small town. First mentions of Jewish settlement date back to the 18th century. In 1764, there were 166 Jewish residents, in 1827 as many as 632, at the time comprising 48% of the total population. An autonomous kehilla was established in 1838. In 1897 there were 530 Jewish residents (38% of the total population). During World War II, the Germans killed the kehilla’s last Rabbi, Mordechaj Maroko, burning him along with his Torah. In 1940, a ghetto was established with around 100 families. In December 1941, 728 residents were transported to Bełchatów and in the summer of 1942, the remaining Jews were transported to the death camp in Chełmno.

The cemetery is located on Kiełczygłowska Street, south of the town, approximately 1 km from the town center. The entrance is located on private land (plot at 17 Kiełczygłowska Street), where there is now a Fil-Kub meat packing plant.

The exact date of the cemetery’s establishment is not known, but most likely it was founded in the 18th century. The last recorded burial took place in 1940. During the war, the cemetery was destroyed by the Germans, and today there is only one tombstone remaining. The cemetery has an acreage of 1.2 hectares.

In 2021, thanks to the involvement of Jacek Frąckiewicz and funding from the County Hall of Widawa, over a hundred tombstones were recovered and renovated, dated from 1924 to 1938, from the pavement beside the mill at the river Naciecz in Wola Kleszczowa. The matzevot were placed back in the cemetery. They were used as a basis for a hundred plaques for the Jews buried in the cemetery in Widawa.