For years, Radom Jews were buried in Przytyk and Kozienice as there was no Jewish cemetary in Radom. It was not until 1831, when a cholera epidemic broke out in the city and the need for quick burials arose, that a piece of land was alotted to Radom Jews in the then suburban village of Gołębiów. The Jewish community took over the land for a permanent cemetery in 1846. In the years that followed the adjacent parcels were purchased and the burial ground was expanded, and an ohel was built. In the interwar period it was staffed by a superintendent, two gravediggers, four servants, a coachman and a janitor.
During the Second World War, the Nazis destroyed the cemetery, removing almost all the tombstones. Matzevot were used, among others, to pave the streets and the airport runway. The remains of the Jews murdered by the Germans during the WWII, including those killed in the local labour camps, were brought to the cemetery in the years 1948-1949 and the last burial took place in 1951. Over the next few years, the graveyard was usupervised and fell into neglect and disrepair; it became a shortcut to a nearby plant.
The conservation work, initiated by Chaim Kincler and supported by the then governor Jan Rejczak, did not start until the 1990s – the cemetery was fenced and the surviving matzevot were displayed. The event celebrating the completion of the renovation effort in the mid- 1990s was attended by Radom Jews from all over the world.
Shortly afterwards, another batch of gravestones was found, and the idea was born to build a monument in the cemetery. In 2010, thanks to the involvement of the authorities of Radom, Polish and Israeli prison services and Israeli sponsors, the lapidarium, designed by the local architect Tadeusz Derlatka, was unveiled in the cemetery. The ceremony was attended, among others, by the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich.
The current cemetery is set in a rectangular, five-hectare parcel. The iron gate, set on brick pillars, is located in Towarowa Street. The cemetery is surrounded by a concrete wall; on it, on both sides of the gate, fragments of recovered matzevot are displayed. During the restoration work, about 100 gravestones were placed in two rows facing the gateway, forming the current central alley of the cemetery. At its end in 2001, a monument was unveiled dedicated to Radom Jews who had fallen in defense of the Commonwealth during the January Uprising in 1863, the First World War and the Polish-Soviet War in 1920.
To the left of the monument, several dozen meters away, ano hel was built on a small hill. There is a gravestone inside with the Hebrew epitaph commemorating Nazi victims. On the wall, there is a text of the Kaddish Yatom (Mourner’s Kaddish) as well as plaques in memory of dozens of Jewish settlements from the Radom region destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust (Drzewica, Ciepielów, Błędów, Bialobrzegi, Gowarczów, Grójec, Gniewosz, Głowaczów, Klwów, Jedlińsk, Kazan, Iłża Kozienice, Ryczywół, Szydłowiec, Wierzbica, Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą, Solec, Radom, Skaryszew, Sienno, Wolanów, Przytyk, Warka, Zwoleń, Lipsko).
Most of the preserved gravestones are from the second half of the 19th century and from the first four decades of the 20th century, with mainly Hebrew inscriptions. These are usually classic sandstone matzevot, with ornaments presenting blessing hands, candlesticks, jars, lions, or books, typical of Jewish sepulchral art.
The Book of Radom; The Story of a Jewish Community in Poland Destroyed by the Nazis, USA 1963;J. Sekulski, Encyklopedia Radomia, Radom 2009.
A list of matzevot from the Jewish cemetery in Radom together with photographs is available on the website of the Jewish Cemetery Documentation Foundation: "http://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/list/c_22" http://cemetery.jewish.org.pl/list/c_22
1. Jewish cemetery in the 1930s, Salomon Birenbaum’s private archive