Beautifully situated on the bank of the San River, Przemyśl is a must-see if you are planning to visit south-eastern Poland. It is surrounded by a picturesque landscape of Carpathian forests. The unique, sloping Market Square and the Old Town are now listed as Historic Monuments, a designation used only for the most prominent and exquisite places.
Przemyśl also boasts the longest history of Jewish settlement in Poland. The beginnings of the community date back to the 11th century. The city was once home to the largest Jewish Community in the Subcarpathian region (the 5th largest in all Galicia). In the interwar period, there used to be 8 synagogues, 2 Jewish cemeteries, several mikvas, ritual slaughterhouses, and a lot of Jewish cultural organizations. The Jews constituted over 1/3 of the entire population of the city and lived mostly in the city center.
After the outbreak of World War 2 Przemyśl was divided into German and Soviet occupation zones (the border was on the River San). In the beginning, the Germans expelled about 20 000 Jews to the Soviet part of the city. After the seizure of the whole city, a ghetto was created and 22 000 Jews from the Przemyśl province were gathered there. They were transported to concentration camps of Janowska, Belzec and Auschwitz.
Surviving traces of Jewish past in Przemyśl:
Scheinbach Synagogue in Słowackiego Street, also known as the New Synagogue (built in 1905). During the war, it was used as a stable, which is why it survived. It was later converted into a library. Eventually, the building has been returned to the Jewish Community.
Zasanie Synagogue at Plac Brzeski. Built at the and of 19th c, it was the only synagogue on the west bank of San River. Currently it is abandoned.
New Jewish Cemetery in Słowackiego Street. One of the few active Jewish cemeteries in Poland, it covers an area of 5.1 ha and has around 700 tombstones.
Old Jewish Cemetery in Pelczara Street (established in the 16th c.) It was razed to the ground by the Germans during World War 2. Only the entrance gate has survived.
Only 30 kilometers north of Przemyśl you can find a Renaissance gem of the Subcarpathian Province. Well-known in the past for its fairs and markets, Jarosław has retained its multicultural character until today. It was the meeting point of Jewish, Catholic, and Orthodox religions, which can be seen in the architecture of the Old Town.
Jews started settling there over 500 years ago. The town attracted Jewish merchants from all over the country with its famous August fairs. The main occupation of the Jewish people was trade and handicraft.
There are 3 remaining synagogues:
Large Synagogue in Opolska Street, the biggest synagogue in Jarosław (built in 1811). It currently houses a school.
Small Synagogue in Ordynacka Street, built at the beginning of 20th c., now dilapidated.
Yad Charuzim Synagogue at Plac Tarnowskiego, the youngest synagogue building in Jarosław (built about 1910 in the Neoclassicist style). It is administered by the Jewish community.
There is also a Jewish cemetery in Kruhel Pawłosiowski Street, where about surviving 50 tombstones .
The traces of Jewish presence in Jarosław can also be discovered in architectonic details such as remnants of the mezuzah in the door frame of a tenement house in Sobieskiego Street, or a wooden sukkah in another tenement house in Wąska Street.
Located in the valley of the San River, the 300 years-old town of Sieniawa still retains its quaint charm. Its most valuable monument, the palace of the noble Czartoryski family is surrounded by a beautiful park. The town, like manyother places in the region, is steeped in a multicultural atmosphere.
In the 19th c., Sieniawa was home to a strong Chassidic center consolidated by Rabbi Ezechiel Szraga Halberstam, the son of the eminent Chaim Halberstam of Nowy Sącz. More than half of the entire town’s population used to be Jewish back then.
During the war, Sieniawa fell under the Soviet occupation. Russian governance banned the activities of Jewish organizations and destroyed the private sector. After 1941, where Germans seized the town, the Jews of Sieniawa were transported to the extermination camp in Belzec.
The Jewish cemetery in Zielona Street has survived and still holds about 700 tombstones, the earliest one from 1686.
A town with medieval origins situated on the road from Rzeszów to Przemyśl with nice examples of old-Polish wooden architecture.
A village (once a town) located 30 kilometers south-east of Przemyśl. Before World War 2, it was home to 3 ethnic neighborhoods: Polish, Ruthenian, and Jewish (the Jewish community was situated in the northern part of the main square). A Jewish cemetery with almost 100 tombstones can be found in the area.
A town with 700 years of history, Przeworski is situated at the crossing of major trade routes. A memorial in the area of the former Jewish cemetery and a mikvah building are some of the surviving traces of the Jewish community in the town.
A small town located close to the border with Ukraine. The remaining building of the synagogue stands still in the main square. There is also a Jewish cemetery with a dozen surviving tombstones and a monument commemorating Jews of Radymno murdered by the Nazis.
As the capital of the district Lubaczów is a cultural and administrative center of the region. Once a town with a Jewish people representing 1/3 of the local population. A home to a cemetery with about 1600 surviving tombstones.
Once a local Chassidic center with a strong community gathered around its leader, Rabbi Halberstam. The renovated building of the synagogue is located near the main square. The ohel of Tzadik Simche Isachar Halberstam is located in the area of the former Jewish cemetery.
A town famous for its Baroque-style park and palace complex. In the 19th c., Narol was home to the court of Narol’s tzadiks (established by Rabbi Jakow Reinman).
Once a seat of a large Jewish community comprising a lot of nearby places such as Borochów, Cewków z Grządką, Łomina, Dzików Nowy, Dzików Stary, Lebiedź, Futory, Lichacze, Miłków, Uszkowce, Zabiała, Wola Oleszycka, Stare Sioło, Lipina, Bachory, Czeterboki, Tomasy, Onyszki, Ignasie, Zalesie Starosielskie, Sucha Wola, Hamernia, Kozaki, Wólka Zapałowska, Zapałów, Polanka, Buczyna. There is a remaining Jewish cemetery with about 300 tombstones.