Jewish Sites in Kraków
(Translated by Ewa Dmyterkod)
The Old Synagogue in Kazimierz, 24 Szeroka Street
Built in the second-half of the Fifteenth Century, in late Gothic style; reconstructed in a Renaissance style by Mateusz Gucci from Florence in 1570, and Zygmunt Hendl in 1904 and 1913. Destroyed during the Nazi occupation. Reconstructed by the State Ateliers for Preservation of Cultural Property in the years 1956-58 and entrusted by the Congregation of the Jewish Faith in Kraków to the Kraków Historical Museum. It now houses a branch of this museum devoted to the history and culture of Kraków Jews and a permanent museum exposition exhibiting a collection of Judaica compiled here since the inception of this branch in 1958.
Remuh Synagogue, 40 Szeroka Street
Founded in 1553 by Israel ben Josef, grandson of Moses Auberach of Regensburg and the father of the famous Kraków Rabbi Moses Isserles (Remuh). Plundered and devastated during World War II it was reconstructed in the late fifties. It regained its former late Renaissance interior decorations. At present the synagogue is open and serves the needs of the Congregation of the Jewish Faith.
Wysoka Synagogue, 38 Jozefa Street
Built between 1556 and 1563. Its name (High) is connected with the fact that the chapel is situated on the second floor of the building. The entrance to the chapel is through a hall of an adjoining building (40 Jozefa Street). During the Nazi occupation the Synagogue was plundered and devastated. Rebuilt in 1966 and adjusted to the needs of the State Ateliers for Preservation of Cultural Property. The original elements which have been preserved in the chapel are the stone frame of the holy arc and frescoes on its southern wall.
Ajzyk Synagogue, 16 Kupa Street
Built in 1638 as a private foundation by one of the most affluent Kraków Jews at the time, kahal elder, Isaac Jakubowicz (reb Ajzyk reb Jekeles). Plundered and devastated during World War II. In the 1950s the building became the property of, and was reconstructed by, the Fine Arts Association in Kraków. The building had undergone successive reconstruction work in 1983. The future function of the building has not yet been decided. The only preserved elements of the former interior of the synagogue are the stucco decorations on the ceiling and the partial wall paintings in the gallery for women.
Wolf Popper (Bocian) Synagogue, 16 Szeroka Street
Erected in 1620 as a private foundation by a wealthy merchant and financier, Wolf Popper. Reconstructed after Nazi devastation in 1965 and taken over by a local Culture Club. None of the former interior decorations have been preserved.
Kupa Synagogue, 8 Jonatan Warschauer Street
Built in the first-half of the Seventeenth Century as a foundation of the local kahal (mi-kupatha-kehilla). A contribution of 200 zlotys by Jewish goldsmith's guild helped to bring construction work to a successful end. Plundered and devastated during World War II, it functioned in the early postwar years as a prayer house and then as a matzoth factory. At present, the building is a warehouse and workshop of one of Kraków's many cooperatives. The elements of the former interior which have been preserved to this day are paintings adorning the ceiling and beams of the gallery for women, and a plate commemorating the foundation of the fraternity of priests and Levites (1647).
Reformed Synagogue, the so called Tempel, 24 Miodowa Street
Built in the years 1860-1862 by the efforts of the Kraków Association of Progressive Israelites. Expanded and remodeled in the years 1869, 1883, 1893-94, and 1924, it preserved its former interior. The most priceless of them are: the holy arc, wall paintings, and stained-glass panels in the thirty-six windows on the ground and first floors, made in the years 1894-1925. At present, the synagogue is rarely used; it is the property of the Kraków Jewish Congregation.
Remuh old cemetery, 40 Szeroka Street
Established in 1551 and open since 1800. Totally devastated during the Nazi occupation. Renewed in the years 1949-60. It holds the greatest in Poland's collection of Jewish sepulchral art of the second-half of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries. Graves of prominent Kraków Rabbis (like Moses Isserles, Natan Nat Spira, Joel Sirkes, Jozue Heszl, and Jomtov Lipman Heller) belong to the most priceless on the list of historical monuments; graves of anonymous people; and sarcophagi - priceless works of sepulchral art.
The New Cemetery, 55 Miodowa Street
Founded in 1880 and expanded many times since. Completely destroyed during the Nazi occupation. Reconstructed in 1957 and in operation until this day. It is closed on the Miodowa Street side by a funeral home; adjacent to it on the east is a two-story apartment building and a wall with an entrance gate to the cemetery. The oldest preserved tombstones date back to the 1840s. Buried there, among others, are: Dr. Ozyash Thon (1870-1936), leader of a Zionist Organization in Kraków and a deputy to the Polish Parliament in 1922-1936; Jazef Sare (1850-1929), architect, vice-president of Kraków in the years 1905-1929; professor Leon Sternbach (1864-1940), expert in classical philology, lecturer at the Jagiellonian University; famous painter, Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-1879); Kalman and Aaron Epstein, leaders of the Hasidic Movement in Kraków at the turn of the Nineteenth Century; and Szymon Schreiber (Sofer), a Kraków Rabbi in 1860-1883.
- 7 Bocheoska Street
- building of the former Jewish Theatre (1927-39) now housing Kolejarza (Railroad Workers') Theatre.
- 6 Brzozowa Street
- bet hamidrash of Solomon Deiches, 20th century, presently used by a production cooperative.
- 28/30 Grodzka Street
- bet hamidrash of Mordekhai Tigner, 1913 Refurbished in 1931, presently abandoned.
- 42 Jozefa Street
- bet hamidrash of Kovea Itim L'Tora, 1810, reconstructed in 1912, now an apartment building.
- 16 Kupa Street
- Mizrachi Synagogue, 20th century, presently under reconstruction.
- 17 Meiselsa Street/5 Nowy Square
- bet hamidrash of bne Emun, 1886. Presently abandoned and neglected.
- 18 Meiselsa Street/13 Bozego Ciala Street
- bet hamidrash of Chevr Tehilim, 1896, now used by the "Krakowiacy" Song and Dance Ensemble.
- 26 Miodowa Street
- Cheder Ivri popular school and Tachkemoni gymnasium, at present offices of Polmetal Company
- 11 Nowy Square
- indoor market place, so called "Okraglak" 1900, since 1927 till 1939 it functioned as a kosher butchering house for poultry, at present regained its former function of a market place.
- 3 Podbrzezie Street
- Jewish School of Commerce 1937-38, at present Biology Institute of the Higher School of Pedagogy.
- 8/10 Podbrzezie Street/5 Brzozowa Street
- primary and secondary school (so called Hebrew Gymnasium). Building complex erected over the years 1918, 1924, 1931, at present housing several vocational schools.
- 3 Przemyska Street
- Jewish Students' Hostel, 1924-1926, at present dormitory of the Higher Musical School.
- 2 Skawioska Street/41 Krakowska Street
- seat of the Kraków kahal board, 1911, presently used in part by the Congregation of the Jewish Faith; larger part of the building houses the Poldam Cooperative.
- 8 Skawioska Street
- Israelite Hospital, 1822, rebuilt over the years 1861-1866 and remodeled following World War II, presently a facility of the Krakow health service.
- 6 Szeroka Street
- ritual bath (mikvah), 17th century, refurbished in the second half of the 19th century and again over the years 1874-1876, presently the building houses offices and workshops of the Kraków branch of the State Ateliers for Preservation of Cultural Property.
Localities Devoted to the Memory of Martyrdom and Struggle of Kraków Jews During the Nazi Occupation, 1939-1945
"Apteka pod Orlem" Museum of National Remembrance, 18 Bohaterow Getta Square
Museum established on April 22, 1983 in the former "Pod Odem" pharmacy, This pharmacy situated on the Bohaterow Getta Square (former Zgody Square) found itself in 1941-43 within the limits of the Kraków Ghetto, Although the Nazis removed all Poles from that area, the pharmacy continued to be run by its Polish owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz. For many Jews it was a place of refuge, an ersatz of freedom in the "walled-in and barred world", a place where they could expect kindness and help.
The museum holds a permanent exposition commemorating the developments in the ghetto and the person of Tadeusz Pankiewicz.
Seat of the Jewish Fighters' Organization, 6 Bohaterow Getta Square
Building which at the time of the Kraków Ghetto was the seat of the Jewish Fighters' Organization (ZOB), exhibiting a commemorative plate.
Part of the ghetto walls, 25 Lwowska Street - 29 Lwowska Street
Several meters long and three meters high wall with a commemorative plate, which was placed there on the fortieth anniversary of the ghetto's liquidation.
Grounds of the Former Concentration Camp in Plaszow
Monuments commemorating the inmates of Plaszow Camp, Kamienskiego Street.
To pay homage to people of all nationalities murdered by the Nazis in the Plaszow Camp in the years 1943-1945, the citizens of Kraków founded a monument to stand at the place of their execution, It was unveiled on September 4, 1964, To pay tribute to Jews, who constituted the majority of the Plaszow camp victims, Kraków Jews founded a separate monument commemorating this appalling fact.
A relic of the Kraków Jewish Congregation cemetery, Abrahama Street
The Plaszow Concentration Camp was established, among others, at the site of two Jewish cemeteries - the Kraków and Podgorze cemeteries -located between Abrahama and Jerozolimska Streets. These cemeteries were leveled to the ground, while tombstones were used as foundation stones for barracks and construction elements to harden the ground in the area. Some visible signs remain only of the Kraków cemetery: several scores of bedplates from the destroyed graves, and only one tombstone of Chaim Jakub Abrahamer (died 1932), which was renewed after World War II.
The Downtown Area of Kraków
"Cyganeria" coffee shop, the place where the Jewish Fighters' Organization made a revenge action against Nazis, 38 Szpitalna Street
In the years 1939-45 "Cyganeria" was frequented by SS police officers. They became the target of a successful assassination plot organized by soldiers of the Polish People's Guards (GL) and the Jewish Fighters' Organization on the night of December 22, 1942 in revenge for the June and October bloody displacement actions in the Kraków Ghetto. This heroic act was commemorated with a plate visible on the front of the building.
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Compiled by Eilat Gordin Levitan. Updated March 2, 2020 Copyright © 2007 Eilat Gordin Levitan (email@example.com).