Olkusz Old Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Site address
The cemetery is located at the intersection of Kolorowa and Piaskowa Streets.
GPS coordinates
50.2808, 19.55173
Perimeter length
240 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
No fence.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is in bad condition, it is mostly overgrown. On the street, there is an information board and some tombstones. The area is unfenced and it is used by the residents for walking their dogs. The original cemetery area reached the property at No.2 Piaskowa Street, and there are also tombstones there. During the war, the tombstones were used to build roads in and around Olkusz. Moreover, in the present building of the town hall there was a sorting room for things stolen from Jews during the war.
Number of existing gravestones
44 tombstones, are in their original places next to No.2 Piaskowa Street. Some of the matzevot were brought to Olkusz from Sosnowiec according to the testimony of a witness.
Date of oldest tombstone
1806 (Many dates are not legible on the photos so there may be an earlier date).
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

The cemetery is located about 550 metres north-west of the market square. It is located on a flat area between Kolorowa, Hutnicza, and Sławkowska Streets, and occupies an irregularly shaped plot of land with an area of 0.41 hectares. The cemetery was likely established after 1584. In 1648, the area was expanded. It was likely in use until the first years of the 20th century. During World War II, the cemetery was devastated. Some tombstones were used by the Germans for construction work. The cemetery fell into further disrepair in the following decades. The cemetery was used as pasture, and matzevot were stolen. A part of the area was used to build a road. On November 4, 1964, the Minister of Municipal Economy signed an order to close the cemetery. Currently, there are several dozen tombstones in the cemetery in various conditions. Most of them were found in the town in 2006 and put in places not related to the actual burial places. The cemetery is not fenced, and its boundaries are imperceptible. There is an information board in the cemetery. Documentation of the preserved tombstones was published in the book “Stary cmentarz żydowski w Olkuszu. Materiały inwentaryzacyjne” (The Old Jewish Cemetery in Olkusz. Inventory materials) by A. Michałowska-Mycielska, D. Rozmus and M. Rozmus. The owner of the cemetery is the Olkusz Commune. The facility is listed in the Municipal and Provincial Register of Monuments.

The beginnings of Jewish settlement in Olkusz date back to the beginning of the 14th century. Before 1317, there were two houses inhabited by Jews in the town. 423 Jews lived in the town in 1764, 1,840 in 1897, and 2,703 in 1921 (40.6% of the total population). Most of the town’s Jews were killed by the Germans in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II. On June 15, 1946, 22 people were registered in the Jewish Committee in Olkusz, and they gradually left the town in the following years.