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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 down in Góra Kalwaria in 1802. Initially, they rented rooms and houses in which they established a house of prayer and a cheder. As time passed, they started to construct their own buildings for religious purposes. In 1820 a bet ha-midrash was established at 39 Pijarska street. The Jewish community was formed 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.

The growing competition from Jewish merchants, tradesmen and craftsmen spurred defensive reactions among the Christian petite bourgeoisie. Incomes from manufacturing and distributing alcohol in bars were a particularly hot issue. The townspeople demanded that Góra Kalwaria followed the example of Grójec and banned Jews from taking up such occupations.

A new growth impulse for the local community came when Góra Kalwaria became the site of the Alter dynasty of tzadiks. In 1859, Icchak Meir Rothenberg Alter, called Gerer Rebe in Yiddish, came to the town from Warsaw. The tzadik's knowledge, authority and charisma attracted thousands of Hassids from various parts of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe. Gerer Rebe was succeeded by his grandson Juda Arie Lejb (1847-1905), called Sfas Emes (Language of Truth) in Yiddish, after the title of his most renown work. The construction of a new synagogue was started during his "reign." When Juda Arie Lejba died, the Hassidic court in Ger was headed by his son Abraham Mordechaj Alter. He was a great book-lover. His book collections were probably looted or destroyed by the Germans.

After World War One, the tzadik's court became a major centre of social and political life. Hassids from Poland and abroad made pilgrimages to Góra Kalwaria. Góra Kalwaria was also the unofficial headquarters of the Aguda political party. Hassidic pilgrimages became easier after the Warsaw-Góra Kalwaria narrow-gauge rail line was opened (an offshoot of the Grójec rail line); incidentally, tzadik Alter himself was an unofficial shareholder of this transport operation. It was simply referred to as “the rebes railway."

In his book Reise in Polen (Journey to Poland), German writer Alfred Döblin described one of such visits to tzadik Alter's court:

In the afternoon, pilgrims flock around the tzadik's large tabl


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