The New Jewish Cemetery

The cemetery where we’re working is one of two Jewish cemeteries in Wroclaw. The “Old” Jewish Cemetery is now maintained as a historical site. The “New” Jewish Cemetery is still in use. Polish Jews are buried near the front gate. As you walk farther back into the cemetery, however, you begin to notice German names and German epitaphs. This cemetery served the vibrant Jewish community when Wroclaw was the German city of Breslau.

It’s not too difficult to imagine how it must once have looked. The front gate opens from a circular drive.

Once you are inside, the World War II memorial is directly in front of you, at the end of a shaded lane.

To the right is an open field. This used to be a flower nursery, complete with greenhouses. Surely many families bought flowers here, so that the cemetery was covered with blooms.

To the left is the funeral house and synagogue. Here is a photo of the original building:


After the Six-Day Arab-Israeli War in 1967, the Polish government expelled all Jews from Wroclaw. With no Jews left to protect and maintain the property, the cemetery rapidly disintegrated. The synagogue was destroyed and the bricks were looted. This is what it looks like today:

Near the center of the cemetery is a large clearing. This is where the elite Jews of Breslau were buried. It used to be the most beautiful spot on the entire property.

The large tombstones have all fallen over.

Most of the 40-acre cemetery looks like this:

For more information about the New Jewish Cemetery, go to:

You can also check out this great PowerPoint slide show.

About Jocelyn McWhirter

Jocelyn McWhirter is the Stanley S. Kresge Professor of Religious Studies at Albion College in Albion, Michigan.
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  1. Pingback: What Are We Doing Here? | Albion College Holocaust Studies Poland Trip 2013

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