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GORA KALWARIA [Ger, Gur, Gier, Gora Kalwarja, Gura Kalvaria]]: Mazowieckie PDF Print E-mail

Coat of arms of Góra Kalwaria

Alternate names: Góra Kalwaria [Pol], Ger and גער [Yid], Gur, Gier, Góra Kalwarja, Gura Kalvaria. Russian: Гура-Кальваря.  51°59' N, 21°14' E, On the Vistula, 21 miles SSE of Warszawa, 18 miles ENE of Grójec. 1900 Jewish population: 2,019.

Yizkor: Megiles Ger, (Buenos Aires, 1975).

A town on the Vistula River in the Mazovian Voivodship has a population of about 11,000 (1992). The town has significance for both Catholic and Hasidic Jews. Originally, its name was simply Góra (literally: "Mountain"), changed in 1670 to Nowa Jerozolima ("New Jerusalem"), and in the 18th century to Góra Kalwaria ("Calvary Mountain"). [May 2009]

Gora Kalwaria had "de non tolerandis Judaeis" privilege that lasted until 1802. Then, the population swelled with Jews from the nearby Jewish towns and villages of Lubkowa, Machcina, Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Warki, and Nadarzyna Magnuszew. In 1817, the Jewish population was 332 out of 836 residents. In 1864, 1,664 Jews (73%) lived there. The 1939 Jewish population was 3,000. In the mid-19th century,  tzaddik Isaac Meir Alter Rothenburg, also known as RIM (acronym for Rabbi Isaac Meir) settled here. Alexander Bańkowska in "Jewish History and Culture of the Students Scientific Circle of the University of Warsaw" wrote: "He was unusual as a tzaddik - did not recognize miracles or mysticism, did not depend on honoraria, did not accept donations from supporters, but lived on the manufacture and trade of snuff by his wife.  He emphasized studying Torah as the way to God and carefully observed the Law and old habits." His posthumously published work Chidusze ha - Rim was one of the major work on Jewish ritual in Polish.Thus, Gora Kalwaria in a short time became one of the most important centers of Europe Chasidism, a mystical-religious movement that began in the 18th century to proclaim the joy of life with singing and dancing as a form of prayer. The Jews occupied a large part of the city center. On ul. Pijarskiej was a synagogue and in back on the current ul. Kilińskiego was the cheder. Opposite the synagogue was the tzaddik's yard and house of prayer [on Wierzbowskiego ?] with a bus stop even before WWII for pilgrims to the tzaddik. Today, many physical traces of its Jewish population remain. The white-blue building at ul. Pijarskiejj is the former synagogue building from 1903 now used as a shop. Across the street is a metal gate at the yard that marks the tzaddik's manor/house of prayer. Above the entrance still is a stylized Mogen David window. In 1940, the Nazis created a ghetto bounded by Pijarska, Strażacka Fr. Sajny i Piłsudskiego. Sajny and Pilsudski streets for local Jews and those from other towns who later were deported to Warsaw and then death camps [Note: mainly Treblinka]. Of about 3,500 Jews, about 30 or 40 survived the Holocaust. Prajs Henryk, one of the survivors wrote in his memoirs: "I survived the war in secret ... (.....) with my whole family, lost all, 35 people. " Today, only two Jews live in the city. Jewish history. The Last Jew of Kalwaria. photos. [March 2009]

Obit: Feliks Wolf Karpman, cared for Jewish cemetery in Góra Kalwaria, Poland [Sept 2014]


Established in the early 19th century "on groncie wygonem" located on Kalwaria at the end of the street, just behind the Catholic cemetery. Since its inception, the area has been gradually increased because in a short time, the cemetery was full. Expansion to adjacent land approved by the guberniya officials. During WWII, the Nazis devastated the cemetery. Gravestones were removed and used for construction. Also ohels were destroyed. PRL authorities intended to close the cemetery and use the land into industrial investment. Fortunately, these plans have not been been realized. The current appearance of the cemetery, above all, is due Felix Wolf Karpman, a native of the city and a part of Warsaw Ghetto and a Treblinka prisoner for many years. He carried gravestones back to the cemetery and rebuilt the tzaddikim ohell. The cemetery is the resting place of several generations of Jewish inhabitants of the city and also a kind of museum of the tragic fate of Polish Jews. Some tens of meters from the entrance is a monumental gateway moved here after the war with alterations. Holes in the bottom show of the traces of [crutches?[. Nearby lie the unmarked graves of Jews executed during World War II. The stone commemorates their death with the words: ".. the memory of the victims murdered by the Nazi [savages?]". According to Jewish ritual for after visiting the graves, one should wash their hands at the place provided. A path leads between the gateway to ohels protecting the remains of the tzaddik and his grandson Altera Judah Arie Lejb. This small building was rebuilt after the war efforts of Felix Wolf Karpman. In the middle is always a lot of cards [kwitlechów] for pious Jews to write their requests to the tzaddik. There is a symbolic tomb of the family Felix Wolf Karpman inscribed: "In Memory of my family killed in the Nazi Treblinka camp, 1942, Father Karpman, Szaia mother, Haides brother, Joseph and brother died in Detroit Mordka. Karpman Wolf son survived ". At the back are ohels of the tzaddikim wives. A small stone on a nearby hill is the burial place of Israel, the father of the first tzaddik of Gora Kalwaria. Most of the preserved matzevot are vertical panels, although some are in the shape of tombs and broken tree sarcophagi. Hebrew inscriptions and typical Jewish cemetery decoration of candles, a jar with hands,blessing hands of Cohanim, books, and lions exist. According to P. Eleonora Bergman of the Jewish Historical Institute, the oldest identified tombstone is from 1840. As a result of the devastation of war, few are stelle in place. There are also tombs of inhabitants, who died during the war. With the support Nissenbaum Family Foundation, the cemetery was surrounded by a solid fence. Thieves target metal gravestone elements on destroyed ohels or detach them from the matzevot. From time to time, the caretaker must remove anti-Semitic graffiti. Despite the destruction and lack of funds, the cemetery is one of the most visited Jewish cemeteries in Poland. Felix Karpman, however, is eighty years of age and worries about the future of this cemetery. To visit or assist Mr. Karpman, call 022 727 33 20. photos. [May 2009]

Burial list and gravestone photos. [August 2014]

Burial list [Jan 2015]


During the Second World War there were mass executions. [March 2009]

REFERENCE: They Lived Among Us: Polish Judaica, a travel brochure: Arline Sachs, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

REFERENCE: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 45-46

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 January 2015 20:44
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