Old Jewish cemeteries are scattered all over the Holy Cross region. Some are only traces in documentations, while others remind us of the community that lived with us in these areas years ago. The Jewish cemetery in Starachowice is one of the best-preserved objects of this type in our region, and the number of matzevot and their good condition please the eye.
Location and accessibility
The Jewish cemetery in Starachowice is located at 21 Bieszczadzka Street in the Wierzbnik district. It is surrounded by single-family houses. The cemetery area is fenced and a gate leads to it, which during our visit was open (on the Internet I found information that it is normally closed and you need to make an appointment by phone for sightseeing). On the other side of the street, you can park your car (it is a small, local street).
History of the Jewish cemetery in Starachowice
The cemetery was founded by the religious community in Wierzbnik, and most probably it took place in 1891. The place was used not only for local Jews but also for those from the area. It was the place of execution during World War II. In the post-war years, the matzevot were stolen and used, e.g. as paving slabs. The cemetery area has been shrinking for years. It was taken to the construction of houses and roads. In the nineties, the building was fenced and the tombstones raised again.
Currently, there are about 500 matzevot at the cemetery, a lapidary (containing fragments of matzevot that could not be identified), and ruins of ohel. The monuments are arranged in rows facing southwest.
The matzevot at the cemetery are in good condition and the bas-reliefs on them are clearly visible. The symbolism of Jewish graves is rich. You will find here lions, deers, hands, broken candles, pitchers or eagles. Original is the matzeva, on which there is a bird feeding the chicks, which is an element of the ornamentation of female gravestones but rarely found in this region.
The cemetery was officially closed in 1964. It is entered in the register of monuments.
Jews in Starachowice
The Jewish community in Wierzbnik was not large if we compare it with others from the Świętokrzyskie region. Its origins date back to the early nineteenth century. At the end of the 19th century, Jews were half of the city’s population. At the beginning of the 20th century, they made efforts to establish a religious commune. It was established in 1907, and in 1929 Wąchock was incorporated into the commune in Wierzbnik.
In the 1930s, the commune had almost 4,000 people. In September 1939, the city was occupied by the Germans. In 1941, a ghetto was established here, which was liquidated in October 1942. As part of these, 200 people died on the spot, 1,600 were transported to a work camp, and 4,000 to the Treblinka death camp. Two years later, prisoners from the work camp were transported to Aushwitz (about 1500 people).
Worth to visit?
The Jewish cemetery in Starachowice makes a great impression. From among many Jewish cemeteries in Holy Cross region, you’ll see a huge number of matzevot, most of which are in very good condition! Definitely a place worth visiting!