Zgierz Jewish Cemetery
Zgierz was granted town rights prior to 1288. Information about Jews in Zgierz first appears in documents from 1813. An independent religious community (kehilla) was likely established at the beginning of the 19th century. The rapid development of the Jewish community led to overpopulation. 505 Jews lived in the town in 1808, 8,337 in 1857, and 19,103 in 1897. At the outbreak of World War II, there were 4,800 Jews in Zgierz. In December 1939, most of the city’s Jewish inhabitants (about 2,500 people) were transferred to Głowno, about 26 km away from Zgierz. Only about 350 Jews from Zgierz survived the war.
The Jewish cemetery in Zgierz is located at 29 Henryka Barona Street. It was founded in 1826 and the first books of Chevra Kadisha date to that year. The graves of Rabbi Czechana’s sister, Rabbi Szolem Cwie (the first local rabbi), Rabbi Hirsz (the second local rabbi), as well as many other teachers and rabbis, are located in the cemetery. During World War II, the cemetery was destroyed. Matzevot were removed and used to harden roads, and trees were cut down and used as building material. By order of the Germans, the cemetery was plowed and covered with earth. After the war, the cemetery remained in its degraded state. Until this day, no matzevot have survived. The cemetery covers an area of 1.5 hectares. In 1992, at the initiative of Jakub Milgrom from Canada—a descendant of Zgierz Jews—a part of the cemetery (approximately 825 square metres) was cleaned up and fenced. At that time, a monument was erected in the fenced-off part with an inscription that reads “In memory of Zgierz Jews buried in the cemetery from the early 19th century until the extermination during World War II.” At the entrance, there is a plaque commemorating the founder – Jakub Milgrom. Matzevot found by local community workers were placed in the cemetery.