The book was based on the diploma thesis "Destruction of Jewish cemeteries in the territories of present-day Poland after 1933", as defended at Warsaw University's Historical Institute (Jewish Studies). That work won awards in four competitions organized by The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, the Open Republic - Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia, the Head Conservator of Monuments and the weekly magazine Polityka.

In 2021 the book got the Józef A. Gierowski and Chone Shmeruk Award for the best academic publication on history and culture of Jews in Poland.

"Krzysztof Bielawski is now considered to be one of the leading researchers into Jewish cemeteries in Poland. The subject of his research has, thus far, fallen into the gaps in Polish historiography - it has been taboo, unwanted, hidden, marginalised, omitted, incorrect, embarrassing and, finally, unknown. This book complements, from a different field, the works of such authors as Jan Tomasz Gross, Jan Grabowski and Barbara Engelking".

Prof. Andrzej Trzciński, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin


"Krzysztof Bielawski has compiled hundreds of examples of Jewish cemetery destruction in Poland. This is a completely unknown phenomenon, and at the same time staggering in its scale. Since the earliest Jewish settlements, some 1200 Jewish cemeteries were established, but probably not a single one avoided either destruction or desecration. The author describes a sad reality that evokes indignation and shame".

Dr. Krzysztof Persak, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Polish Academy of Science


"Fully footnoted, Krzysztof's research disproves some myths, including that of the mass destruction of Jewish cemeteries during Kristallnacht and that "cemeteries were totally destroyed by Germans." In fact, he writes, even if a cemetery was devastated by Nazis during the war, it was also destroyed by the local population - and very often by the postwar state. After the fall of communism the situation changed, but, he says, "Jewish cemeteries are still in danger".

Dr. Ruth Ellen Gruber, Jewish Heritage Europe -


"Krzysztof Bielawski has researched and described a very important subject, covering the period from 1933 to the present day. The book is quite remarkable in its breadth and content and has all the attributes of a mature historiographic work. It also constitutes an excellent guide to source materials and the historian's modus operandi. And, of course also takes the reader to those places of remembrance and heritage that - as this work shows - have so often suffered the obliteration referred to in the title. With this work the author joins in the duty-bound effort to restore that remembrance and heritage".

Excerpt from a review of the F. Rakowski competition for best works concerning the Polish People's Republic. Jury: Dr. Barbara Klich-Kluczewska (Jagiellonian University), Professor Jerzy Kochanowski (University of Warsaw), Professor Marcin Kula (Warsaw Theatre Academy), Professor Wiesław Władyka (University of Warsaw), and Marian Turski (Polityka Weekly, Association of the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland).


"The work describes the processes responsible for Jewish cemetery destruction over the last century. The author refutes the myth of the total destruction of Jewish cemeteries by the Germans during the Second World War, showing that the Germans did not carry out their complete destruction and that they were not alone responsible for such acts. The work constitutes an important voice in the discussion on Polish-Jewish relations, in particular the participation of Poles in the plundering and destruction of the Jewish population's property and the monuments of material culture produced by that minority. The author poses questions concerning the causes of such destruction and attempts to provide balanced answers, taking into account the social and historical conditions. The author has presented an impressive number of sources, both archival and iconographic, whether in print or found on the internet. Equally impressive is the number of studies used, including unpublished undergraduate and graduate theses, as well as journalistic texts, interviews, reports and more. The work, written in excellent, even elegant Polish, is an invaluable source of information about the fate of Jewish cemeteries in Poland".

Professor Marzena Zawanowska PhD, Mordechaj Anielewicz Centre for the Study and Teaching of the History and Culture of Jews in Poland, University of Warsaw


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