The Jews of Kraków and its Surrounding Towns

Jewish Sites in Kraków

Eugeniusz Duda

(Translated by Ewa Dmyterkod)


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.


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.

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.

Other Buildings

• 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


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Compiled by Eilat Gordin Levitan. Updated March 2, 2020 Copyright © 2007 Eilat Gordin Levitan (