Jewish Cemetery, Szydłowiec
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

photo

The Jewish cemetery presents historical and artistic values. It is one of the largest cemeteries of this religious confession in Poland, taking account of the number of preserved gravestones. The feature bears witness to the history of thousands of residents of the city, who represented a considerable share of Szydłowiec community between the 18th century and World War II. Tombstones found in the cemetery constitute a valuable monument of the funerary art.

History

For centuries, the Jews formed a large community in Szydłowiec. First citizens of the Mosaic Faith appeared in the town already in the second half of the 16th century. The city’s owners provided them with favourable conditions for settlement. Therefore, a synagogue, a religious school (cheder) and a ritual bath (mikveh) were established in the town. The location of the first Jewish cemetery in Szydłowiec is difficult to establish. All we know is that it existed already in the late 17th century. We can speculate that it was situated in the immediate vicinity of the currently non-existent synagogue. In the early 19th century the cemetery no longer offered free space for burials. What is more, it violated legal regulations that stipulated that such features should not be established immediately at residential buildings. Therefore, in 1811 the Jewish community purchased another plot. Soon, both parts were fenced and a funeral house was built in the area between them. In 1831 a choleric cemetery was established for the victims of the epidemics; at first at a distance, in the years 1918-1939 it was connected with the existing cemetery.

The Jewish community of Szydłowiec ceased to exist in the years 1942-1943 as a result of displacement and extermination in Nazi camps. In 1957 the cemetery was closed and gravestones located on two oldest plots were relocated to the currently existing Jewish cemetery. Two years later these plots were allocated for development. In 1967 a monument commemorating 150 Jews murdered in the cemetery area by the Nazis and representing homage to sixteen thousand Jewish citizens of Szydłowiec and the vicinities murdered in extermination camps was placed in the cemetery in 1967. In 2005 a tomb (ohel) where rabbis are buried was erected here. During the stocktaking of the years 1979-1980 and 1987 around 3100 graves from the years 1831-1942 were registered. In 2000 another register was created, in accordance to which the cemetery included only 1750 graves.

Description

The Jewish cemetery of Szydłowiec is a place where tombstones from three Jewish cemeteries of this city have been collected. The appearance of the tombstones is mixed. In accordance with the Jewish tradition, matzevot prevail in the total number of approx. 2 thousand features. Their appearance, size and craftsmanship reflected the affluence and social standing of the deceased or the family he/she originated from. Most matzevot found in the cemetery are carved in Szydłowiec sandstone and date back to the 19th century. Features of this stone make the carved symbols and inscriptions mainly embossed in Hebrew are legible even today. Double gravestones in a form of a sarcophagus or a cut tree trunk can also be found in the cemetery.

The symbolism of tombstone representations is very broad and depends on numerous issues. Burning or burnt out candles, a money box (pittance) and a bird on a branch are associated with women. Buried men are marked by books (studying of Talmud and Tora) and family symbols: a watering can - the Cohen family, a lion - the tribe of Judah. Apart the symbols, the tombstones also include inscriptions related to the identity of the deceased, date of death, piety in life and confirm potential association to Hasidism.

The cemetery is accessible via an open gate.

Compiled by Bartłomiej Modrzewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw, 24-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. III, Województwo kieleckie, red. J. Z. Łoziński, B. Wolff, z. 10. Powiat radomski, inwent. K. Szczepkowska, E. Krygier, J. Z. Łoziński, Warszawa 1961.
  • K. Nocek, Szydłowiec, Serwis Cmentarze żydowskie w Polsce, http://www.kirkuty.xip.pl/szydlowiec.htm, dostęp: 24 listopada 2014.

General information

  • Type: Jewish cemetery
  • Chronology: k. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wschodnia , Szydłowiec
  • Location: Voivodeship mazowieckie, district szydłowiecki, commune Szydłowiec - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

Licence:

report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area