Warka Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Masovian Voivodeship
Site address
Cemetery doesn’t have an address.
GPS coordinates
51.7780304, 21.1774564
Perimeter length
359 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished Jewish cemetery that has not been built over
General site condition
The Jewish cemetery of Warka is situated in the south-western rural outskirts of the town. The cemetery is located on the hill on the left bank of river Pilica. The cemetery area is covered with tall wild grasses and trees, but is not extremely overgrown. The only building in the cemetery area is the rebuilt Ohel of a local Tzadik. The cemetery is demolished as there are no tombstones. Graffiti on the Ohel.
Number of existing gravestones
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
There is an Ohel of a local Tzaddik, Izrael Icchak Kalisz. In the 1990s an Ohel was erected in the place where tzaddik Izrael Icchak Kalisz is believed to have been buried. Some prominent representatives of the Hassidic dynasty were also buried at the Cemetery: Mordechaj Menachem Mendel Kalisz from Warka, so called ‘Silent Tzaddik’ (1819-1868), son of Isaac from Warka who was the founder of the dynasty; Menachem Mendel from Maczewice (died in 1919); Abram Moses from Połaniec (died 1938); Jakub Juda from Warsaw and Nadarzyn (died 1885); Chaim from Warsaw (died 1931). There is an information board about the Ohel near the ramp on Baczyńskiego Street.
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Jewish settlement in Warka began to significantly develop at the end of the 18th century. In the next century, a Hasidic dynasty was established in the town (Vurka Hasidim). In 1921, 2,176 Jews lived in the town. In February 1941, the Germans deported Warka’s Jews to Warsaw, most of whom were later killed in 1942-1943. The cemetery is located about 850 metres southwest of the market square, on a hill above the Pilica River, west of Baczyńskiego Street. It covers an approximate area of about 1.5 hectares, within the area of plots no. 182/1, 184, 185, 186, 187. There is no information about its date of establishment. According to unconfirmed sources, the cemetery was established at the turn of the 19th century. It must have existed prior 1848 when Rebbe Izrael Icchak Kalisz (the first Rebbe of Vurka) was buried there. At the end of 1850, efforts were made to fence the cemetery and enlarge the area. In the related correspondence, the existing cemetery was called the “old” cemetery. The area of the cemetery was enlarged several times. The last land purchase probably took place in 1917. the cemetery was likely in active use until the deportation of Jews from Warka in February 1941.

Presumably, the cemetery became devastated during that time, and continued to degrade through the following decades. All tombstones were removed from the cemetery and the fence was torn down. Part of the plot is built over with single-family houses. The cemetery was also used as a pasture and as a recreation area. Around 1990, at the initiative of the Hasidic community, an ohel made of red bricks was erected over the alleged burial place of Rebbe Izrael Icchak Kalisz. Moreover, metal stairs were built on the side where the cemetery borders the Pilica River. Currently, the boundaries of the cemetery are imperceptible. The area is unfenced and covered with wild vegetation. There are some extensive excavations in the centre of the cemetery. Periodically, bones slide down the hillside. Some continual problems in the cemetery include littering, and vulgar and anti-Semitic slogans painted on the ohel. There is no information on the ownership status of the cemetery. The cemetery is listed in the provincial Register of Monuments, and it is not listed in the Register of Immovable Monuments of the Mazowieckie Province.