Checiny Jewish Cemetery
The development of a Jewish settlement in Chęciny began at the end of the 16th century. In 1921, 2,825 Jews lived in the town, which was 56% of the total population. The majority of them were killed in Treblinka in September 1942.
The cemetery was established in the first half of the 17th century. It is located around 800 meters away from the market square, on the south-eastern slope of Zamkowa Hill. It was mentioned in the royal inventory from 1660 and in the privilege issued in 1668 by the head of the Chęciny district, Stefan Bidziński, and later confirmed by the Polish kings.
The cemetery served as a burial place for the inhabitants of Chęciny and its surroundings. In 1929, Majer Bałaban wrote: “There is a huge cemetery on the slopes of the castle hill, beneath Queen Bona’s castle ruins. You can see at first glance that the cemetery is too big for a small community of Chęciny. It was a collective cemetery for several communities, especially for the Kielce one, which had the De non tolerandis Judaeis privilege.”
In the interwar period, the cemetery was fenced with a hoarding with a shingled gateway. At the entrance, there was a building in which the caretaker and gravedigger lived. The last pre-war caretaker was a Christian, Karol Kiciński, who lived in the building until 1945.
During World War II, the cemetery was still in use. After the extermination action in September 1942, people killed in the town and its vicinity were buried there. From 1942, Guta Szynowłoga, Lilli Szynowłoga and Izaak Latrowski hid in the caretaker’s house.
In 1964, the Minister of Municipal Economy issued a decision to close the cemetery.
The cemetery covers a plot of approximately 3 hectares. The borders are partially visible due to the earthen embankment and the wall. As a result of the destruction carried out by the local population and the impact of natural forces, only around 300 tombstones have survived, which is a small percentage of the original amount. The oldest surviving tombstone dates back to 1638.
The cemetery is owned by the Municipality and the Communal Office of the Town of Chęciny, which takes care of regular cleaning works. The property has been entered into the Register of Immovable Monuments.