Wloszczowa New Jewish Cemetery
Włoszczowa was granted town rights in 1539 and was a famous Calvinist centre by the turn of the 17th century. The first recorded mentions of Jews appear in the 16th century but, because of the wars and fires which happened in the following century, the community only began to develop in the second half of the 18th century. In 1765, there were 282 Jews in Włoszczowa. The Jewish population increased in the mid-19th century and, in 1872, Jews constituted 64% of the total population. In the mid-19th century, most likely in 1860, an independent Jewish community was established which also included Jews from Kluczewsko, Krasocin, Kurzelów, Oleszno, Radków, and Secemin. In 1921, there were 5,479 inhabitants, 53.1% of whom were Jewish and, before the war, over 4,000 Jews were members of the kehilla. According to the 1935 census, the community owned a brick synagogue, the headquarters of the kehilla, a slaughterhouse, a cemetery with a funeral house, a brick ritual bath, and a residential house on Górki Street. During World War II, the Germans established a ghetto and a forced labour camp in the town. In the fall of 1942, most of the Jews from the ghetto were transported to the extermination camp in Treblinka and several hundred to the labour camp in Sandomierz. Several hundred more were murdered on the spot in the new Jewish cemetery.
The new Jewish cemetery’s establishment date is unknown though it may have been founded in the mid-19th century. It was located at the intersection of Sobieskiego Street and Reja Street and covered an area of approximately 1 hectare. Jews from other towns who belonged to the community were also buried at the cemetery. After the liquidation of the ghetto, by order of the Germans, some tombstones were used to build a road and foundations of warehouses on Kolejowa Street. Some tombstones were taken by individuals. In the cemetery, there are mass graves of several hundred Jews who were shot there by the Germans between 1940–1943, on which tombstones were placed in 1947–1949. One plate with an inscription in Polish (from 1942), the damaged tomb case, and concrete poles of the former fence have survived. In 1955, the cemetery became the property of the State Treasury under the decree on abandoned and former German properties. Until the 1980’s, several tombstones were still visible in the cemetery. At that time, plans were made to build a housing estate in the area which were later abandoned after the interventions of the Nissenbaum Foundation. The cemetery is cleaned every few years, but it is still in bad condition. It remains unfenced and is overgrown with lush vegetation.