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The Krakow Bet HaChaim

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          During my recent trip to Poland I visited many cemeteries where great tzaddikim are buried. Krakow has three cemeteries: a grassy field in the middle of the Kazmirez Square; the old cemetery located behind the Remu (Rema) Synagogue; and the new cemetery located on Mildova Street.

 

         The old cemetery is filled with the graves of tzaddikim dating back to the time of the Rema (Remu) (1525-1572).

 

         There are many other famous rabbis buried in Krakow – five of the better known are presented here; and the monument in the New Cemetery, dedicated to the Krakow victims of the Shoah:

 

         Rabbi Moshe Isserlis The Rema, zt”l (1525-1572)


         Rabbi Eliezer (HaRofai) Ashkenazi, zt”l.


         Rabbi Yoel Sirkus, the Bach, zt”l (1570-1641).


         Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller (“Tosfot Yom Tov“) zt”l (1579-1654).


         Rabbi Natan Nata Shapiro, the Megaleh Amukot, zt”l.


 


 


 


 


Monument in the New Cemetery comprised of destroyed matzevot.


 


 


 

 


Rabbi Eliezer (HaRofai) Ashkenazi, zt”l, Krakow.

 


 

 


Rabbi Yoel Sirkus, the Bach, zt”l, Krakow.


 


 

 

 


Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller, the Tosfot Yom Tov, zt”l, Krakow.


 


 

 

 

 

Rabbi Moshe Isserlis, the Rema, zt”l, Krakow


 


 

 

 

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov, zt”l.

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September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

September 1, 1939 is the date on which Germany invaded Poland, starting WWII. While it should be said that the start of the war was not the start of the Shoah, which actually began with the rise of Nazism in 1933, it was a major milestone in the annals of the Holocaust. Within the first few days of the war, Germany had conquered and/or bombed much of Poland, including the capital, Warsaw.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

In September 1939 the Germans started establishing ghettos in the occupied territory of Poland. Ghettos played an important role in the Jewish extermination policy. They were filled with Polish and Western European Jewish deportees. The ghettos differed in times of existence, size, internal organization, and living conditions. The Germans called them ” death boxes” (Todeskiste). The city of Lodz belonged to the Wartheland District and the Germans changed its name into Litzmannstadt.

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Growing up in the U.S. during the second half of the 20th century, I, along with most people, know very little about the First World War. The little that I did know was about the trench warfare in France and Belgium. The Eastern Front was barely, if ever, mentioned and usually stated that it ended with the Russian Revolution and overthrowing the Czar.

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