Zdunska Wola Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Zduńska Wola is located at 18 Kacza Street, west of the town centre, on the left side of the exit road to Sieradz. The cemetery was established around 1826. The oldest preserved matzevah dates to 1832 and the last burial took place in 1964. During World War II, the cemetery was destroyed by the Germans, and continued to fall into further disrepair in the post-war years. About 3,000 matzevot, half of which are overturned or broken, from the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century have been preserved in the cemetery (in an area of approximately 2 hectares). The tombstones are mainly made of granite, limestone, and sandstone. There are also some matzevot made of erratic boulders, which is rare in Jewish cemeteries in Poland. The epitaphs were written in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, Russian, and German. The tombstones also have rich sculptural decorations. There are clear traces of polychrome on some. In 1994, a monument was erected in honour of Jews from Zduńska Wola by the mass grave of Jews murdered by the Germans during the liquidation of the ghetto. In 2001, for documentation purposes, the cemetery was re-divided into 11 plots, and alleys were marked out with cobblestones. The new layout does not recreate the original layout of the cemetery. In 2007, a new gate was built, which is a replica of the first cemetery gate. There is a plaque on the gate which describes the history of the cemetery in several languages. Currently, the cemetery is not used for burial purposes. The cemetery is taken care of by the YACHAD Historical Society, the Organization of Former Residents of Zduńska Wola in Israel, local authorities, and the Museum of History of the City of Zduńska Wola. Since 2010, an open day in the cemetery takes place in August. In 2010, at the request of the Jewish Community in Łódź, the cemetery was entered into the Register of Monuments (No. A / 101). The keys to the cemetery are in the YACHAD Historical Society (6 Sieradzka Street).
Zduńska Wola was first recorded as a settlement in sources from around 1394 and was only granted town rights in 1825. The first records of Jewish settlement date to 1788. In 1828, a Jewish community was established in the town, which included Jews from the surrounding villages as well. In 1902, the Jewish community in Zduńska Wola numbered 5,983 people of the total population of 20,472. During World War II, in the spring of 1940, the Germans established a ghetto in Zduńska Wola. In December 1940, 8,300 people were gathered there. In August 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and most of the Jews were transported to the extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem. Skilled craftsmen were transferred to the Łódź ghetto, and 150 people were shot on the spot.