Around 80% of the people in the Polish town of Chmielnik were Jews before the Holocaust. Following their expulsion from Spain during the Inquisition, Sephardic Jews made their way to Chmielnik, where they eventually constructed a synagogue in 1638.
There were only four Jews left after the war. The structure now serves as a museum showcasing the Jewish heritage of the community. Another Jewish historical site has just been found in an unexpected location.
A Chmielnik-Businessman named Marian Zwolski just bought a disused nightclub that had been abandoned for 15 years. He was surprised to find a mikvah, or Jewish ritual bath, when he unlocked the basement door of his new home.
The Stars of David on the wall and the blue and white floor tiles of the bathroom are still there. In a separate room, a smaller mikvah that is probably used by ladies can be seen. In an interview with Haaretz, Meir Bulka, a supporter of the preservation of Jewish heritage in Poland, stated: „It’s astonishing.“ „When you walk into the basement, a different universe greets you. It is similar to a time capsule.
A Heineken sign, Egyptian-themed decorations, and a ton of mildew and leaks are among the remains of the former Sphinx club, located just up the steps from the Mikvah, which is filled with water, according to the Haaretz story.
Zwolski, who also runs a funeral home in nearby Kielce, which was the scene of a pogrom in 1946 that resulted in the deaths of 42 Jews, told Haaretz that he hopes to make his new mikvah into a tourist destination, perhaps a museum.
„I care about the history of this place because I was born and raised here. I don’t want it to go away, says Zwolski. „I call on you, the Jews, to preserve it and see that it is memorialized. „I encourage the people to remember the past.”