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Góra Kalwaria

Polska / mazowieckie

Synagogues, prayer houses and others Cemeteries Sites of martyrdom Judaica in museums Andere


Province:mazowieckie / warszawskie (before 1939)
County:piaseczyński / grójecki (before 1939)
Community:Góra Kalwaria / Góra Kalwaria (before 1939)
Other names:Nowa Jerozolima [j. polski]
Ger גער
Gur [j.jidysz]
Гура-Кальваря [j. rosyjski]
Gura Kalvarâ [j. mazurski]
51.9767° N / 21.2154° E
51°58'36" N / 21°12'55" E


Tomasz Kawski + izrael badacz /

Góra Kalwaria | K. Bielawski

Góra Kalwaria – a city in central Poland, in Piaseczno County, Mazowieckie Province. It lies 19 km southeast of Piaseczno, 33 km south of Warsaw, on the left bank of the Wisła River.



K. Bielawski

Żydzi z Góry Kalwarii. Fotografia z kolekcji Yankla Jurkevitza | Nieznany

The first Jews settled  in Góra Kalwaria in 1802. Initially, Jews rented rooms and houses in which they established a house of prayer and a cheder. Subsequently, Jews began to construct their own buildings for religious purposes. In 1820, a bet ha-midrash was established at 39 Pijarska street. Shortly thereafter, the Jewish community was officially established in 1821. In 1849, a wooden synagogue was erected in Pijarska street. After it burnt down, a new brick synagogue was built in the same location in 1901-1902.

As the Jewish community grew, Jewish merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen brought economic competition to the town, a phenomenon that bred resentment among the Christian petite bourgeoisie. Rising Jewish incomes in the manufacturing and alcohol economies became a particularly contentious issue eventually causing the townspeople to demand that all Jews be banned from taking up such occupations.

Despite the economic power struggle, Jewish cultural and religious life thrived. For example, after Icchak Meir Rothenberg Alter, called Gerer Rebe in Yiddish, came to the town from Warsaw in 1859, Góra Kalwaria became the site of the Alter dynasty of tzadiks. The tzadik's knowledge, authority and charisma attracted thousands of Hasids from various parts of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe. Juda Arie Lejb (1847-1905) -- or Sfas Emes (Language of Truth) in Yiddish -- succeeded Gerer Rebe and subsequently constructed a new Hasidic synagogue. When Juda Arie Lejba died, his son, Abraham Mordechaj Alter assumed leadership over the Hasidic court in Ger. After WWI, Polish and international Hasids made pilgrimages to Góra Kalwaria. As one of the most important centers of religious life, Góra Kalwaria was made the unofficial headquarters of the Aguda political party. Part of the growth of Góra Kalwaria's religious community was undoubtedly due to the construction of the Warsaw-Góra Kalwaria narrow-gauge rail line, which made Hassidic pilgrimages far easier; perhaps unsurprisingly, the tzadik Alter himself was an unofficial shareholder of this transport operation. Eventually, it was simply referred to as “the rebes railway."

In his book Reise in Polen (Journey to Poland), German writer Alfred Döblin described a visit to tzadik Alter's court:

In the afternoon, pilgrims flock


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