Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland
Fewer than 10,000 Jews live in Poland, a country once known as the center of European Jewish life. On the eve of the Second World War, Poland was home to over three million Jews, making it the second-largest community in the world. Warsaw, the capital, had a population of over 300,000 Jews, more than 30% of the population of the city—and a larger Jewish community than in most European countries. Around 85% of Polish Jewry was annihilated during the Holocaust. Many Jews from other countries were deported to Nazi death camps in German-occupied Poland and murdered there. After the war, many survivors refused to return to, or remain in, Poland, which was marked by civil war and anti-Semitic violence. Since the end of Communism, the small Jewish community in Poland has been able to reassert its identity and begin the process of rebuilding. Most of the country’s Jews live in Warsaw, but smaller communities also exist in Kraków, Wrocław, Łódź, Katowice, Szczecin, Gdańsk and several other cities. Poland’s large number of Jewish historical sites has resulted in a popular place for Jewish heritage tours. The Polish affiliate of the World Jewish Congress is the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.