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Jewish cemetery (Pakosz Dolny Street)

Heritage Sites – Cemeteries
Polska / świętokrzyskie

After the pogrom, Jews were gradually leaving the city. Already devastated during the war, abandoned cemetery fell into obscurity and disrepair year on year. In 1956, the Socio-Cultural Association of Jews in Poland, in a letter to the Presidium of the National Council of the City of Kielce alarmed: "The cemetery is in deplorable condition, the wall is systematically dismantled, many of the graves were broken and scattered, the tombs are profaned, and the monument to the victims of the pogrom is desecrated with various graffities. The same year, officials of the National Council of Kielce in a confidential letter to the Office for Religious Affairs reported that "the formerly Jewish cemetery in Kielce was illegally occupied by the Work Cooperative "22 lipca" ("July 22"), which arranged a depot of coal, coke, slag, sand and clay on the cemetery. The management of the Cooperatives transformed the mortuary (...) into a pattern shop". In 1965 the cemetery was officialy closed by the authorities. In an ohel, in which Kuzmirer and his nephew Moshe Yehuda Leib were buried, a carpenter's workshop was arranged. Krzysztof Kąkolewski clearly describled the devastation of the cemetery in his text entitled "Martwy cmentarz" ("The dead graveyard"), published by "Tygodnik Solidarność" (No. 51 dated for December 16th 1994). "In the seventies, grew a second, terrible matter: The command of the authorities - the communists of Kielce have invoked the orders from Warsaw - to desecrate Jewish cemetery by the deportation of all the remaining matzevot (...) in the times of the Martial Law (...) the local military unit in a communal effort, on Sundays used to transport the matzevot in trucks in a unknown direction. Money for that went from the state defense budget. Tombstones were probably used as a material for the construction of foundations, steps, walks in the villas of the Red Barons.

The change this state came in the eighties when - thanks to the efforts of Fundacja Rodziny Nissenbaumów (Nissenbaum Family Foundation) and Kielce Landsmannschaft of Diaspora Jews - cemetery was fenced and restored. From the parts of the remaining matzevot a lapidary was erected. The dedication ceremony of the renewed cemetery was scheduled on August 23 1987, the forty-fifth anniversary of the dissolution of the ghetto in Kielce. It was attended by several hundred people, including representatives of the Catholic Church with Bishop Henryk Muszyśki. Later on in 2007 thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Leib Surkis, the ohel of Kuzmirer was regained. Funerary chapel building was renovated and fenced, the tombs were set within, and at the entrance a signboard was mounted.

Even today on the territory of the necropolis remained several hundred matzevot and their parts used in the construction of the monument and arranged in rows. A huge attention is drawn by a monument commemorating the children from a labor camp running nearby Jasna and Stolarska Streets, who were executed in May 1943. On the monument were written names of the victim and a sign: "Here lie the sacred ashes of our 45 dearest, innocent children, murdered cruely by the German criminals on the day of 23th May 1943. The youngest was 15 months old, and the oldest was 15 years old". Mass grave of victims of the Kielce pogrom was marked with a simple matzeva, on which the Star of David was embossed and a sign in Hebrew and Polish: "Here lie the remains of 42 victims of incidents in Kielce on 4 July 1946, let them never be forgotten!". In the area of the necropolis one can find numerous structural components of the destroyed tombs.

In order to gain access to the key to the cemetey gate call 783 084 183 or 783 084 072.

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GPS:
50.8566° N / 20.6081° E
50°51'23" N / 20°36'29" E
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