Wieliczka Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Poland
Region
Lesser Poland Voivodeship
District
Wieliczka
Settlement
Wieliczka
Site address
145, Siercza Street.
GPS coordinates
49.97907, 20.04009
Perimeter length
750 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
There is a mass grave for the over 1000 Jews who were killed there. There is a memorial marking the site.
Number of existing gravestones
50. The majority of the gravestones are ruined and only fragments were found.
Date of oldest tombstone
1866
Date of newest tombstone
1942
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The first mentions of Jews in Wieliczka and Klasno (which, from 1934, became a part of Wieliczka) date to the 14th century. In 1921, 1,135 Jews lived in Wieliczka (15.6% of the total population), and in 396 in Klasno (66% of the total population). Most of these Jews were murdered in 1942 by the Germans in Wieliczka, Siercza, Kozie Górki near Niepołomice, and in Bełżec. The cemetery is located about 1.4 km south-west of the upper market square in Wieliczka, on the slope of a hill in the village of Siercza, near the property of Siercza 145, and covers a plot shaped similarly to the letter L, with an area of approximately 1.37 hectares. The cemetery’s establishment date is unknown, though, according to various sources, it was established in the 16th or 18th century. In the interwar period, the cemetery was surrounded by a stone wall and the funeral house was located near the intersection of Stroma Street and Klaśnieńska Street. In 1939, 32 Jews were shot in the village of Pawlikowice and their bodies were buried in the cemetery. From August 27, 1942, and in the subsequent months, the Germans killed several hundred people at the cemetery who were caught during, and after the liquidation of the ghetto. The bodies of the victims were buried in mass graves. The devastation of the cemetery began during the war, and, by order of the German authorities, numerous tombstones were removed, and the wall was pulled down. Some residents and post-war authorities also participated in the destruction process. About 100-150 tombstones have been preserved within the cemetery, including concrete walls, tombs, and about 30 steles with legible inscriptions, the oldest of which dates to 1822 (a partial list is available at https: //cemetery.jewish .org.pl / list / c_34). Fragments of the wall are visible. At the entrance to the cemetery, there is an information board and a monument commemorating the victims of the Holocaust in the form of a stone block depicting the Star of David. The area is covered with deciduous forest. The owner of the cemetery is the Jewish Community in Kraków. The cemetery is listed in the Provincial Register of Monuments.