Oswiecim New Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Lesser Poland Voivodeship
Site address
1, Wysokie Brzegi Street.
GPS coordinates
50.03905, 19.23389
Perimeter length
563 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
There is an iron and concrete fence, about 3 metres high.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is well kept.
Number of existing gravestones
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
There are 3 ohels, including: the ohel of Szymon Kluger (died May 16, 2000), the last Jewish resident of Oświęcim; an ohel built in the 1980s by Ascher J. Scharf with the epitaphs devoted to members of the Scharf family, including the Oświęcim Rabbi Moses J. Scharf (1787–1869).
Drone surveys

Historical overview

The first records of Jews living in Oświęcim date to 1549. By In 1921, 4,950 Jews lived in the town (about 40.6% of the total population). In 1940, the Germans established KL Auschwitz II-Birkenau in Oświęcim, where they murdered over 1.1 million people, including about 1 million Jews.

The cemetery is located about 750 km east of the market square, at the intersection of J. Dąbrowskiego Street and Wysokie Brzegi Street and covers a trapezoidal plot of land with an area of approximately 1.18 hectares. The cemetery was founded around 1784 and is the second Jewish cemetery established in Oświęcim (the oldest one was established around 1588, though its exact location is unknown). Some notable people buried in the cemetery include: Mosze Jakow Scharf, a rabbi in Oświęcim and in Zator (died in 1869); Jakób Haberfeld, a president of the organized Jewish community, councillor, and owner of vodka and liqueur factories (died in 1904); and Dow Berisz Frommer, a rabbi and student of Rebbe Szmuel Szmelke Horowic of Nikolsburg (died in 1938). There was a funeral house next to the cemetery. In 1941, the Germans established a forced labour camp in the cemetery. Barracks, water tanks, and two air-raid shelters were built in the cemetery. By order of the Germans, the tombstones were used to pave the streets, part of which ran through the cemetery. The cemetery was further damaged during the Allied strategic bombing campaign. Since 1945, various restoration projects have been carried out in the cemetery at different times by the Jewish Committee in Oświęcim, the Jewish Congregation in Kraków, Ascher J. Scharf, the Jewish Community in Bielsko-Biała, and the Matzevah Foundation. While the cemetery was officially closed on November 4, 1964 by order of the Minister of Municipal Economy, the last person to be buried in the cemetery was Szymon Kluger, who died in 2000. The area (except for the part which was used to built Dąbrowskiego Street) is fenced with a wall and with a closed gate. Within the cemetery, there are about 1000 tombstones (though they have been moved away from the actual graves they initially marked), and contemporary ohels of the Scharf family and of Szymon Kluger. The cemetery is owned by the Jewish Community in Bielsko-Biała and it is listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Małopolskie Voivodeship.