Katowice

Zabrze Jewish Cemetery

  ul. Cmentarna 15, Zabrze ,   No District         more than a year ago
Founded in 1871 Zabrze’s Jewish cemetery served the local community up until WWII when the several hundred Jews who resided in the area were rounded up and packed into cattle trucks destined for Auschwitz. Within a stroke the town's Jewish population almost ceased to exist, however after the war this cemetery was actually returned to the small surviving Jewish community and burials continued here until 1953; these more modern burials consist primarily of Jews who came to Zabrze from the East during the post-war period of Silesia's heavy 'Polonization.' A unique aspect of the cemetery is that in addition to Hebrew inscriptions, many tombs feature texts in German and Polish as well. The graves of Russian soldiers from both World Wars who died in the area are also interred here. Existing in high-contrast to the well-maintained community Catholic cemetery directly next to it, Zabrze's Jewish cemetery occupies an over 1 hectare lot of overgrown underbrush and gnarled trees scattered with over 800 tilting ivy-covered tombs and sarcophagi. Hard to miss thanks to a brightly coloured entrance gate which typically remains locked, entry can still be gained by entering through a neighbour's yard - a slightly intrusive act which we were given permission for. If that fails, you can still access the forgotten site through a crumbled back wall off ul. Tomeczka. A haunting reminder of the past, a visit to this incredibly poignant memorial place and the surrounding district of Osiedle Donnermarcka is highly recommended.

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