The indices to the Warsaw Cemetery photograph collection at the Jewish Historical
Institute were added to the JRI-Poland database in December 2001. These are indicated by a "JHI"
source key in the search results. To understand the significance of this valuable resource, it is important
to be familiar with the main Warsaw Cemetery project launched in December 1999.
Former Warsaw Cemetery Manager, Mr. Bolek Szenicer, like his father Pinkus before him, worked diligently
to reconstruct the Warsaw Cemetery records destroyed by the Nazis. In 2004, new Cemetery Manager Yisroel
Szpilman continued the work and more than 60,000 gravestones have been fully or partially indexed and are
searchable on the JRI-Poland website.
These additional 3832 indices are from an unusual source. In the late 1960s, the City of Warsaw drew up
plans to extend Anielewicza street (formerly Gesia street) to connect with Mlynarska Street through the
southern section of the cemetery. Gravesites in sections 1, 2, 3, 3a, 4b, 91, 92, 97, 99 and 99a were to
have been removed and in preparation the stones were photographed, and inscriptions were deciphered and
recorded. This work was carried out by Warsaw University students.
However Pinkus Szenicer, then manager of the cemetery, expressed strong opposition to the street
extension plans and successfully campaigned to have them cancelled. Ultimately, the photos and documentation
were turned over to the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.
In the 50 years since the photos were taken, many gravestones have deteriorated and some were stolen or
vandalized. Thus, some photos in collection will be the only record of the stones existance.
Note: In 2014, Jewish Records Indexing – Poland and the Foundation for Documentation
of Jewish Cemeteries (FDJC) in Poland signed a collaborative agreement to enable searches of the JRI-Poland
database to display links to transcriptions and photographs of 59,000 gravestones in the FDJC website. For
information on the FDJC Project, click here.