Karczew Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Masovian Voivodeship
Site address
1, Otwocka Street.
GPS coordinates
52.0805742, 21.2471938
Perimeter length
593 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
There is an iron fence (1.5m high) on stone block posts with decorative elements (stars of David), which was installed in 2006.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The Jewish cemetery of Karczew is situated on a small hill in the central part of the town. The area is a meadow, covered with wild grasses and rare trees. The south-eastern corner of the historical cemetery area is overbuilt with a private residential household and the western border appears to be partially overbuilt by the Ślusarska Road. The majority of the cemetery is preserved and fenced as a Jewish cemetery. Several hundred tombstones, a modern ohel and an information board are present in the area. Graffiti was seen on some Matzevot.
Number of existing gravestones
436. Some matzevot have inscriptions not only in Hebrew, but also in Russian and Polish.
Date of oldest tombstone
1869, 1876
Date of newest tombstone
1913, 1930
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
There is an Ohel dedicated to Awraham Jehoszua Heszel, son of Mordechaj Twerski (died in 1914).
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Jews began to settle in Karczew at the end of the 18th century. In 1921, 836 Jews lived in the town (25.6% of the entire population), most of whom were deported in January 1941 to the Warsaw Ghetto and were murdered a year later in Treblinka.

The cemetery is located about 500 m north-west of the town centre, on a sandy hill at Otwocka Street, on a plot of land with an approximate area of 1.86 hectares. The date of its establishment is unknown, though it was likely established at the end of the 18th century or at the beginning of the 19th century. Initially, the cemetery covered a rectangular plot of land measuring 78 x 58 m. During World War II, the Germans carried out executions at the cemetery. The bodies of people who died or were killed in the Ghetto and in a forced labour camp were buried there. In 1948, the bodies of about 200 people who were murdered in 1942 in the Marpe sanatorium, were exhumed and buried in the cemetery. The destruction of the cemetery began during the war and continued through the following decades. Most of the tombstones were removed and demolished. The cemetery became an illegal landfill and a sand mine. In the 1980’s, during the construction of the pumping station, one of the sides of the hill was damaged, which caused the displacement of graves.

In 2002, thanks to the cooperation of the Jewish Community in Warsaw, the authorities of Karczew, the Polish Jewish Cemeteries Restoration Project, the United States Commission for the Protection of American Heritage Abroad, and private sponsors, the cemetery was fenced and cleaned up. In the cemetery, there are about 150 tombstones in various conditions. From the side of Otwocka Street, remains of the pre-war wall are visible. Around 2016, the ohel of Awraham Jehoszua Heszel, son of Mordechaj Twerski, a tzaddik in Łojów and Cudnów, who died in 1914, was erected. One serious problem in the cemetery is the dune-characteristics of the land. The owner of the cemetery is the Jewish Community in Warsaw and it is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Masovian Voivodeship (No. 1377, July 26, 1989).