Poland was home to a thousand-year-old Jewish community, one of the biggest globally, which was almost completely eliminated after Germany’s five year occupation during the Second World War. Early in the Middle Ages, Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in Germany landed in Poland and were well received, becoming a big part of the country’s economy.
The majority of Jews lived either in the East under Russian authority or in the South under Austrian authority until 1918 when Poland gained independence, with a population of over 3,000,000 Jews, 300,000 of them in Warsaw. Before 1939, the community prospered and Yiddish became known as the Jews’ primary language. During the war, Poland was the center of Nazi attack on European Jews, leading to a progressive decline in their population. The post-war period saw the borders shift once again and the attempts of emigration by the approximately 100,000 survivors, as those who stayed back had to undergo numerous pogroms in addition to the Holocaust they had just experienced.
Presently, the Jewish community consists mostly of the elderly and is relatively small. Warsaw hosts an operational synagogue and there are numerous Jewish historical sites dotting the country. Information on Polish Jewish heritage is published by the Polish Tourist Board.
I think as a Jew it is a must to visit Poland once and see the concentration camps. We need to see this and know that it was real and it happened. I went to Poland for a few days and do not want to go back. I brought food with me so I would not need to buy anything while there, so I can’t comment about kosher food availability.
ul. Mickiewicza 26 43300
Telephone: (2) 22438
The old Jewish city has streets that take one back in time. In Kazimierz, Jewish life revolved around the old town square known as ul Szeroka. Of the seven synagogues in Kazimierz, only one is still used.
Located on the opposite side of the Vistula River, the ghetto was constructed in March 1941. The Bohaterow Ghetta (Ghetto Heroes) Square is famous as the place from which the Jews were banished to Belzec and Auschwitz- Birkenau Nazi death camps. The Museum of National Commemoration sits at No. 18. Constructed in 1983, it holds displays of the ghetto and the Nazi occupation with pieces of the ghetto walls still in existence.
The Plaszow concentration camps site is near the former ghetto, and it is here that the lives of almost 1,100 Jews were saved by Oscar Schindler who made them work in his factory. In remembrance of the 10,000 who didn’t survive, a monument was constructed. Schindler’s pot and pan factory is located close by on ul l.ipowa 4. It has a monument in the courtyard, and is today used to make electronic parts.
High or (Tall) Synagogue
Destroyed during the Holocause, ul Jozefa 38 was initially built in 1553-56 to be used as a prayer room located on the second floor above ground floor shops. It is today used as a monument restoration workshop.
2 Szeroka Street, 41 Miodowa Street
Telephone: (12) 4291374, Fax: (12) 421 7166
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.jarden
Klezmer-Hois Agencia Artystyczna
Jewish books and publications
ul. Felicjanek 4 31-104
Telephone: (12) 432 4150, Fax: (12) 432 4150
The Jewish Religion Congregation
2 Skawinska Street
Telephone: (12) 429 5735
Mondays to Thursdays 9am to 2pm, Friday 9am to 12pm.
Jewish Culture Festival
ul. J6zeefa 36 31 056
Telephone: (12) 431 1517,431 1535, Fax: (12) 431 2427
ul. Ciemna 15, PO Box 407 31-053
Telephone: (12) 430 6565, Fax: (12) 430 6767
This hotel includes a kosher restaurant and Mikvah. Also WiFi, Salt grotto. Organised guided tours to all sites including Tzaddikim.
The Galicia Jewish Museum
ul. Dajw6r, Kazimierz,
In commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust and in celebration of the Jewish culture of Polish Galicia, the Galicia Jewish Museum was constructed. Open daily from 9am till 7pm in the summer and from 10.am til1 6pm in the winter, closed only for Yom Kippur and Christmas Day.
For group bookings or to arrange a private tour, contact Natalia
Museum of the History and Culture of the Cracow Jews
The Old Syngogue, 24 Szeroka Street 31 053
Telephone: (12) 422 0962
Set up in the 15th century, the synagogue has been renovated many times. Being the oldest synagogue still standing in Poland, it was remodeled to house the Museum of Jewish History. A majority of its artwork and Jewish relics were plundered during World War II. Today it holds collections of liturgical items, ancient Torah scrolls, textiles, dishes, utensils and shofars, as well as photographs, documents and artwork showing the history of the Jews of Cracow. A monument to 30 Poles shot by the Nazis stands in the plaza in front of the synagogue.
PHARMACY UNDER THE EAGLE (Museum on site of Krakow Ghetto)
Apteka Pod Orlem (Ksiegarnia), Plac Bohater6w
Telephone: (12) 656 5625
ul. Rabina Meiselsa 17
Telephone: (12) 423 5595
Klezmer-Hois Agencia Artystyczna
UI Szeroka 6 21-053
Telephone: (12) 411 1245, Fax: (12) 411 1622
This restaurant does not have rabbinical supervision or a certificate of kashrut but abides by the obligatory rules of kashrut.
Bociana or Popper’s Synagogue
ul Szeroka 16
This synagogue constructed in 1620 by a wealthy merchant is no longer used for ritual purposes, but today hosts the cultural centre. During the Holocaust, all of its interior decorations were destroyed.
High Synagogue -Ksiegarnie Austerii
ul. Jozefa 38 31-053
18 Kupa Street
Contact Dominik Dybek
ul Warszawera 8
This synagogue was built in the late 17th century. After WWII, it was turned into a matzah factory. Little remains of the original interior beyond a few 20th century frescoes.
ul Szeroka 40
Built in 1557 the synagogue is named after Rabbi Moses Isserles the son of its founder, who is buried in the adjacent cemetery. For information; contact 603 860 373 (mobile). The synagogue has been remodeled and is in use today. A beautiful mosaic wall of tombstone fragments was also built.
24 Miodowwa Street
Built in 1862 it was used by the Germans during the war as a stable, and is currently being restored
ul Dolnych Walow 9 44100
Telephone: (32) 314 797
ul. Mlynska 13 40098
Telephone: (32) 537 742
ul. Chojnowska 37 59220
Telephone: (76) 22730
Telephone: (42) 335 156
Telephone: (42) 331 221,336825
Once a major Jewish town in eastern Europe, Lublin today has fewer than a hundred Jews. Pre-war Lublin was a centre for Torah study, and a large yeshivah was built only a few years before the Second World War, now used as a dental college. Majdanek Concentration Camp lies within the city’s boundary. There is a particularly moving memorial in the camp consisting of the ashes from the camp’s crematoria.
The memorial Chamber of the Lublin Jews
ul. Lubartowska 1020-084
Telephone: (81) 524 1277
Central organisation:The Jewish Social and Cultural Society in Poland
Auschwitz Jewish Centre and Chevra Lomdei
Mishnayot Synagogue Jewish Museum
PI. Skarhka 5 32 600
Telephone: (33) 844 7002, Fax: (33) 844 7003
Hours of opening: April September: 8.30am to 8pm; October to March:8.30am to 6pm; The centre is closed on
Saturday and Jewish holidays
Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
al. Wiezniow Oswiecimie 20 32 620
Telephone: (33) 844 8102
ul Bonicza, edge of PI. Ofiara Getta
ul. Niemcewicza 271553
Telephone: (91) 221 674
Currently, Warsaw has a few thousand Jews, most of whom are elderly compared to the almost 300,000 Jews it had before the war. Remnant fragments of the Ghetto walls and “A memorial Route to the struggle and Martyrdom of the Jews 1940-1943″ also known as “Memory Lane” are some of the places one can visit. Still used is the old Jewish cemetery that was left untouched by the Nazis. In the centre of the city lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier whose inscription includes the Warsaw Ghetto fighters. The Nozyk synagogue commemorated 100 years in 2002.
Embassy of Israel
ul. Krzywickiego 24 02 078
Telephone: (22) 825 0028
6 Twarda Street
Central organisation: Jewish Community of Warsaw
Contact: Sharona Kanofsky tel: 6522150.
Monument to the Ghetto Heroes
This monument symbolizing the heroic 1943 Ghetto defiance of the uprising was constructed in 1948.
The Jewish Historical Institute
3/5 Tlomackie Street 00-090
Telephone: (22) 827 9221, Fax: (22) 827 8372
Home of an extraordinary collection of Judaica, this institution has a library of documents on the manuscripts stolen from all over Europe by the Germans.
UI. Smocza 27
Telephone: (22) 838 3217, Fax: (22) 636 3371
Plac Grzybowski 2
Telephone: (22) 203 754
Nove Miasto Ecological Restaurant
Rynek Nowego Miasta 13/15
Telephone: (22) 831 4379
Telephone: (22) 642 0666
Pod Samsonem Restaurant
UI. Freta 3/5
Telephone: (22) 831 1788
Opening Hours: 1 Oam to 11 pm
ul. Tamka 37
Telephone: (22) 635 8463
Singing Waiters Restaurant Galeria Mokotow
Galeria Mokotow, 12 Woloska Street
Telephone: (22) 541 3767
Nozyk Synagogue, Jewish Community of Warsaw,
Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.
6 Twarda Street 00 950
Telephone: (22) 620 4324, Fax: (22) 620 1037
Restored between 1977 and 1983, this synagogue is worth visiting as it is the remaining pre-war synagogue in Warsaw. Visitors welcomed. Friday night dinner available. Kosher store in the synagogue.
ul. Wiertnicza 113 02-952
Telephone: (22) 885 2638, Fax: (22) 885 8982
Every Friday, Bejt Simcha meets to celebrate Kabalat Shabbat which is combined with a lecture, a discussion or a cultural program. We use our own Hebrew-Czech siddur for the service and once a month there is a Saturday morning service. There is a small synagogue, library, room for social and cultural events and bar. Bejt Simcha is a member of the European Section – World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUP J).
Jewish National Theatre
Plac G rybowski 12/16
Performances are given in Yiddish
Shalom Travel Service
Twarda Street 6 00 105
Telephone: (22) 652 2802, Fax: (22) 652 2803
Slezna Street 37
Telephone: (71) 678 236