Synagogues in Poland are in very different condition. They often became museums or chambers of remembrance but sometimes they are ruins in very bad condition. The synagogue in Klimontów is somewhere in the middle. Quite well preserved from the outside, it stands abandoned, as if waiting for better times.
Klimontów is a city in the Świętokrzyskie Province located 20 kilometers from Opatów and 30 kilometers from Sandomierz. The synagogue is located next to the Market Square (a parking lot is in front of the building).
There are two ways to enter the building. The first is the stairs leading to the former women’s gallery (the door is broken), and the second is the entrance from the left side of the building. There are a lot of broken glasses inside so be careful what you stand on.
History fo synagogue
The synagogue was founded in 1851. Originally, there was a rabbi’s house and a bathhouse next to it. It is difficult to determine the exact date of the building, and the one mentioned is on a stone plaque on the building. It also has the name of Jan Sobkowski – probably a builder. However, it was not until 1865 that an item related to the synagogue’s equipment appeared in the budget of the Jewish community.
Like many buildings of this type in Poland, the synagogue in Klimontów was devastated by the Germans during World War II. A warehouse for looted valuables has been set up in the building.
After the war, inside the synagogue there was a warehouse and a fruit and vegetable collection point, and in 1959 it became the property of the country. Currently, it belongs to the Association of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.
The building has a rectangular shape and is covered with a roof. From the front there is a portico with columns and stairs leading to the former women’s gallery. There was once a cemetery behind the synagogue (currently there is a school square in its place).
Jews in Klimontów
The first Jews in Klimontów began to settle after 1611. In the mid-seventeenth century, the army of Hetman Czarniecki slaughtered Jews in this city. In 1721, the Jewish community constituted half of the inhabitants of Klimontów.
Six years later, a wooden synagogue was built, and in 1848 work on a brick building began. Koprzywnica was also included in the Klimontów synagogue district.
In 1939, the Jewish community in Klimontów had 425 members with families. After the beginning of World War II (in 1940), the Germans created a ghetto in Klimontów. About 4,000 people lived there, of which 1,000 were displaced from other centers. On October 29, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and its inhabitants were transported to Treblinka.
Coming to Klimontów, it is worth taking a look along the way, e.g. to Włostów (Karski Manor), Krzyżtopor or Ublinek (the best preserved Arian congregation in Poland).
Worth to visit?
The synagogue in Klimontów looks good from the outside, and after entering it is impressive. Despite the poor condition inside, the imagination works and if you are in the area then visit this place necessarily!