Jewish Heritage

Przemyśl was an important Jewish settlement for centuries leading up to WWII. At the outbreak of the war, the Jewish community numbered around 22,000, one-third of the city's population. The initial situation for Przemyśl’s Jews during WWII was different from that in other Polish cities, owing to Przemyśl’s easterly position. For the first two years of the war (when Germany and the Soviet Union were allies and had carved up Poland between them), the frontier ran straight down the middle of Przemyśl. Most Jews found themselves in the Soviet occupation zone and were comparatively better off than their brethren in the Nazi-occupied areas. The situation deteriorated in 1941 after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union and quickly occupied the entire town. Most Jews were eventually sent to their deaths at the German-run Bełżec extermination camp near Lublin in 1942.

The only significant remaining relics of the Jewish legacy are two synagogues (of four that existed before WWII), both dating from the end of the 19th century. The most important surviving synagogue is behind the building at ul Słowackiego 13, east of the Rynek. It functioned as a branch of the public library until 2015 but now stands vacant. The former Jewish cemetery can also be visited. It's at the far southern end of ul Słowackiego.