Zywiec Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Żywiec is located at Stolarska Street, in the Zabłocie district, about 2.7 km southwest of the town centre, next to the Catholic and municipal cemetery. The cemetery’s exact establishment date is unknown, though it is known that it already existed by 1853, as the oldest preserved tombstone dates to that year. The last documented burial took place in 1946. During World War II, the cemetery was devastated by the Germans, and a significant amount of the matzevot was used to regulate the nearby stream. Others, including the marble tombstone of Rabbi Nachman Hirsch Bau, were stolen after the war. About 500 tombstones, made mainly of sandstone, limestone, and granite, have survived in the area of approximately 0.5 hectares. Typical decorations and inscriptions in Hebrew are visible on the matzevot. There is the matzevah of Walter Munk in the cemetery, a second lieutenant of artillery in the Imperial and Royal Army and the Polish Army, posthumously awarded with the Virtuti Militari order for his participation in the defense of Zamość.
In 2005, a fire broke out in the funeral house, in the central part of the cemetery. As a result, the building had to be demolished. In April 2018, thanks to the support of an anonymous entrepreneur from Żywiec, the cemetery was thoroughly cleaned up. Numerous matzevot were excavated, the fence and the gate were renovated, and paths were marked out. In 2019, lighting was installed, and the fence was further renovated. Eugeniusz Gradek takes care of the cemetery. By the decision of October 12, 1989, the cemetery is listed in the Register of Monuments (No A-640/89).
Żywiec was founded towards the beginning of the 14th century. It was granted town rights before 1327. It is not known when exactly the first Jews settled in Żywiec. From 1626, the De Non-Tolerandis Judaeis privilege was in force in the town. An influx of Jews came to Żywiec in the 17th century. In 1864, an independent Jewish community, Żywiec-Zabłocie, was established. During World War II, in the spring of 1941, all Jews from the town were transported to the Sucha Beskidzka Ghetto, and probably in 1942, they were deported to KL Auschwitz-Birkenau.