The first Jewish cemetery in Kazimierz Dolny was established at the end of Lubelska Street, at the foot of Sitarz Hill, to the east of the Jewish district. We do not know the exact date of its foundation; in all likelihood it was at the time that the Jewish community settled in Kazimierz, i.e. probably at the turn of the 16th century.
The original area of the cemetery covered 0.5 ha. At the end of the 18th century, the old cemetery was situated in the built-up area of the town, and the Police Committee of Both Nations recommended that the Jews close the cemetery and establish a new one in the far outskirts of Kazimierz.
No depictions of the cemetery have been preserved, but on the basis of existing recollections and accounts from various people we can assume that the graves were not organised into neat rows. Many of the matzevot, including the grave of the famous Tzaddik Ezechiel Taube, were very ornamental and showed high artistic quality.
The cemetery was devastated by the Nazis at the beginning of World War II; a mortuary once located there did not survive until the modern day. The Jews from Kazimierz were forced to pull out the matzevot and use them to pave the courtyard in the Franciscan monastery, where the Gestapo headquarters were located, as well as the routes leading to outhouses by the buildings occupied by Germans. The Nazis also demanded that the ornaments and inscriptions be removed from the matzevot. After the war, several matzevot were retrieved; the workers paving the roads had laid them face down, as suggested by Antoni Michalak. In 1985 they were found in the town and moved to the cemetery in Czerniawy, where were used to create a lapidarium.
In 1940 the Nazis levelled part of the cemetery and built a military casino and barracks in its place. A school sports field is currently located at the site of the graveyard. Only fragments of the upper part of the old cemetery with pieces of gravestones have been preserved. Some fragments of the matzevot are also set into the wall surrounding the field.