Gora Kalwaria Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Masovian Voivodeship
Góra Kalwaria
Site address
Cemetery doesn’t have an address.
GPS coordinates
51.982, 21.19178
Perimeter length
540 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
There is an iron fence (2m high) on concrete pedestals. The decorated iron gate from the town’s Synagogue is now part of the entrance. The cemetery fence was installed by the Nissenbaum Family Foundation.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The Jewish Cemetery of Góra Kalwaria is situated on the western rural outskirts of the town. The cemetery area is fenced and well-maintained. Tombstones have been preserved and a Holocaust memorial and information boards have been installed in the cemetery area.
Number of existing gravestones
540. Our field team discovered 360 tombstones standing in situ, 80 lying and 100 fragments, placed on wooden panels on the ground.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
There is the rebuilt brick ohel of the local tzaddikim: Yitzhak Meir, son of Israel (founder of local Hassidic dynasty, died in 1866) and his grandson Yehuda Aryeh Leib. Around the ohel there are several tombstones of local Rabbis and Rebetzn (Chaya Reyze Yehudit and Feyga Lewin).
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Jewish settlement in Góra Kalwaria began after 1802. In the second half of the 19th century, the town became the headquarters of one of the most important Hasidic dynasties (Ger Hasidim). In 1921, 2,691 Jews lived in Góra Kalwaria (48.9% of the total population), most of whom were deported to the Warsaw Ghetto in February 1941 and murdered in Treblinka a year later.

The cemetery is located approximately 1.6 km west of the city centre, between Zakalwaria, Budowlanych, and Wiejska Streets, and covers an irregularly shaped plot with an area of approximately 1.23 hectares. The cemetery was established at the beginning of the 19th century. The first mention of the cemetery’s existence was in the city’s budget for 1827–1832. The cemetery’s land was gradually expanded. It was fenced and there was a funeral house at the entrance. In 1866, Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Rothenberg Alter, the founder of the local Hasidic dynasty, first Gerrer Rebbe, and the author of the book “Chidusze ha-Rim,” was buried at the cemetery. An ohel covered with a hipped roof was erected over his grave. In 1905, Rabbi Yehuda Arie Lejb—the third Gerrer Rebbe and author of the book “Sfas Emes”—was buried in the ohel.

During World War II, the Germans shot Jews and Poles at the cemetery and buried their bodies there. The degradation of the cemetery began around this time. By order of the Germans, some matzevot were used to pave the square in the camp for Soviet prisoners. Some inhabitants of Góra Kalwaria and the surrounding villages also took part in the destruction of the cemetery. After 1945, thanks to the efforts of the Jewish Committee in Góra Kalwaria, a concrete pseudo-sarcophagus was built over the graves of the great rabbis, about 150 tombstones were placed in the cemetery, and the area was fenced. In 1989, the Nissenbaum Family Foundation constructed a concrete driveway to the cemetery and a new fence. A new ohel was built at the end of the 20th century. The owner of the cemetery is the Jewish Community in Warsaw and the facility is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Masovian Voivodeship (entry No. 1408, 09/02/1990).