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cemetery: Pow±zki, Warszawa
photography: Jacek Michiej

Cmentarz żydowski w Bielsku-Białej

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Jewish cemetery in Bielsko-BiaƂa - active Jewish cemetery located in Bielsko-BiaƂa, in the Aleksandrowice district, at ul. CieszyƄska 92. It was established in 1849. In the years 1868-1931 it was supervised by the Chewra Kadisza Funeral Brotherhood. Then, until 1963, it was owned by the Jewish Religious Community and the Congregation of Jewish Religion. Then he moved to the State Treasury until 1972, after which he became a municipal cemetery managed by the city. Since 1997, it has been owned by the Jewish Religious Community in Bielsko-BiaƂa. During World War II, he was seriously damaged - more than half of the tombstones were stolen or destroyed. In the 1960s, some of the graves from the liquidated cemetery at ul. Liberation. Since 1983, the necropolis has the status of a monument. In the 80s and 90s of the XX century, numerous renovation and cleaning works were carried out. The Jewish cemetery area is 23,900 m (2.39 ha). This area is divided into seven sectors, which in turn are divided into rows. There are about 1.2 thousand. tombstones, whereby the number of all burial sites is estimated at 3,000. In the southern part of the cemetery there is a pre-burial house built in 1885 in the Neo-Roman-Mauritanian style according to the design of Karol Korn in the place of the older one, created in 1867. The most valuable element of his equipment are the ceiling polychromes, inscribed in the register of monuments. Located close to the city center, the cemetery is also an enclave of wild nature. The most valuable element of the flora is common ivy with numerous flowering varieties. Burials are still taking place in the cemetery. [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
type of the cemeteryreligious
state of the cemeteryactive
[source: Wikipedia, 540588]
the area where services are available
area where services are not available
Establishment of the cemetery. The first Jews who lived in Cieszyn Silesia settled in Cieszyn, where in 1647 a private Jewish cemetery was established. Jews from the whole region were buried there, also from Bielsko, where the representatives of this nation lived permanently from the mid-seventeenth century. Over the years, the number of Jews from Bielsko-BiaƂa has increased. In 1837, it was already 427 people. Such a large group in the city of several thousand at that time began efforts to create a commune independent of Cieszyn. An important step towards the creation of an independent institution representing Jews from Bielsko and the surrounding area was also to establish their own cemetery. The outbreak of cholera in 1849 and the related ban on carrying corpses became an excuse to purchase a plot worth 2,500 guilders in July 1849 by freight forwarder Adolf BrĂŒll (money came from voluntary contributions from the Bielsko Jewish community) in the suburban village of Aleksandrowice intended for the Jewish cemetery . A month later, on August 17, the District Office in Cieszyn issued a permit to start the Jewish cemetery. Initially, the owner of the land was Adolf BrĂŒll, because Bielsko Jews did not form an independent commune, belonging to the Cieszyn commune. In 1862, the de facto administrator of the cemetery was recognized by the authorities of the Bielski Religious Association (German: Cultusvorstad). After the official registration of the Bielsko-BiaƂa Jewish community, ownership was granted on October 25, 1865 and on December 27, 1865 to the Israeli Jewish Community in Bielsko (German: Bielitzer Israelitische Cultusgemeinde). Registers are kept only since 1874, hence it is not known who was the first buried. On the basis of the preserved cemetery book kept by the first guardian and the head of the cemetery, Samuel Braunberg, it is known that the first burial was made on July 31, 1849. The oldest preserved gravestone is the matzeva of seventeen-year-old Josef Neumann, who died on September 3, 1849. Until 1995 it was in the central part of sector F, we can now see it in the pre-burial house. Other graves from the beginnings of the cemetery are also in sector F, which shows that it is the oldest part of the necropolis. ---- XIX and beginning of the 20th century. In 1867, a construction company of the Bielsko-BiaƂa architect Andrzej Walczak built a pre-burial house in the southern part of the cemetery. The construction costs were covered by voluntary donations of members of the local Jewish kehilla. The building burnt down in the 1880s. After tidying up the area, in 1885, a new building was erected in the same place, designed by Karol Korn, whose architecture referred to other Jewish buildings in the city - the synagogue and the kehilla's seat. Three years after the creation of the Israeli Religious Community in Bielsko in 1868, the Chewra Kadisza Association of the Israeli Religious Community for Nursing and Hiding Corpses in Bielsko was established, in short called the Chewra Kadisz Funeral Brotherhood. It took over the duties related to the maintenance and administration of the cemetery. Also in 1868, Emperor Franz Joseph I issued an act concerning interdenominational relations of citizens, which spoke, among others, about the fact that no denominational commune can refuse to burry its cemetery to a person not belonging to this commune if there is no cemetery, church or religious community suitable for the deceased or a burial in the family grave. In Bielsko this law was the most applicable in relation to the related FriedlĂ€nder and Baum families. Already in the year of issuing the bill, Wilhelm's son, Lutheran, slept beside Moritz FriedlĂ€nder. A few years later, in the Evangelical cemetery, a magnificent tomb was erected, to which the bodies of the deceased members of both families buried in the Jewish cemetery were moved. This event was criticized by both Protestant and Jewish circles. Later, it happened several times that persons who considered themselves atheists were buried at the Jewish cemetery, or the Jewish Religious Community asked that a Jew be buried in a family grave in the Christian cemetery. Many Jews were mobilized in the years 1914-1918 to fight on the fronts of World War I. Many of the wounded in western Galicia were sent to Bielsko: to a municipal hospital or a lazaret by barracks in Upper Przedmieƛcie. Those who did not recover were buried in nearby cemeteries. For Jewish soldiers, the Chewra Kadisza Burial Society appointed a separate quarters in the eastern part of the Jewish cemetery, which is today the E sector. Both soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian army and Polish legionnaires as well as several Russian prisoners are resting there. Among the Austro-Hungarian soldiers buried in the Jewish cemetery in Aleksandrowice there are three Muslims included in the infantry regiments of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Chatybarachmam Chabibulin, Dedo Karachodzony and Bego Turonowic. Only some of the tomb soldiers were funded with tombstones, and only five survive to this day. On the remaining graves of Chewra Kadisza, only plaques with the name and the number of the grave were placed. In 1929, a military monument was erected in the military headquarters. It has a rectangular shape, which is divided into three parts. The middle part is topped with a semicircular arch, which gives it the shape of a matzeva. In the finial, the Star of David was carved with an inscription in Hebrew: - - / -, what in the translation means: This sign for those killed during the World War / 1914 - 1918. Below is a low relief symbolic representation - a tree with truncated and broken branches symbolizing the dead as cut off / broken off from the Tree of Life. At the base there is a granite plaque with the text in Yiddish: / - / 1914-1918 / / 1929, which in translation means: Dla uczczenia / nasze ĆŒydowskich bohaterĂłw / 1914-1918 / przyrzucowane by Chewra / Kadisza Bielsko 1929. Side parts of the monument contain two granite plaques with engraved names of 61 soldiers resting there. In 1928, a group of orthodox Jews from Bielsko asked Chewra Kadisz to create a separate quarters for them at the cemetery in Aleksandrowice. Previously, they were buried in the Jewish cemetery in BiaƂa, considered to be more friendly to the Orthodox population, the burial fees in the neighboring town were twice as large, which posed a problem for the poorer part of the community. Talks on this subject lasted 10 years (see below). In the 1930s, due to the significant financial impact of the Chewra Kadisz Funeral Brotherhood, the Jewish Religious Community Board (a new name from 1924) decided to take over the competence and distribution of the Brotherhood funds. After year negotiations, both sides were able to reach an agreement and the Jewish kehilla took over from January 1, 1932, the power over collecting and disposing of finances, leaving Chewra Kadisz only issues related to the hiding of the dead. In 1931, two members of Chewra Kadisza, Ignacy Marmor and Filip Reich, using the register established by Samuel Braunberg, made a new cemetery book containing a list of all those buried in 1849-1931. The list contained the name, surname, sector, order and number of the grave. It was systematically supplemented, there are even entries from the post-war period. In the 1930s, the Jewish Religious Community purchased a plot adjacent to the cemetery from the west (today's sector G) for the purpose of expanding the Jewish cemetery. After its acquisition, the demands of orthodox Jews intensified to create a separate quarters for them. After 10 years from the beginning of negotiations in this matter, in 1938, in the presence of the orthodox rabbi Stern, progressive rabbi Dr. Steiner and president of the commune Zygmunt Arzt, accommodation was devoted. It is not known exactly where it was, because it was completely destroyed in the wjny time. It is probable, however, that the orthodox burial site was a newly purchased plot of land, because earlier they rejected the possibility of installing the quarters on the old part of the Jewish cemetery. On the basis of Rudolf Wiesner's letter to the staroste of Bielsko, it is known that in 1942 there were 45 graves in the orthodox quarters. This letter also confirms the assumption about the location of the accommodation, because we read in it: (...) the transfer (...) from the newer part to the older one. In 1938, Aleksandrowice became part of Bielsko, so the cemetery was within the city limits. The Second World War. After the incorporation of Bielsko into the Third Reich in 1939, the German authorities created a Jewish Council of Elders (German Altenrat) based on the Jewish Religious Community, headed by JĂłzef Trotter. The new body took over the duties of cemetery management. Imprecise entries in the cemetery book do not allow for an accurate inventory of burials in the years 1940-1944. It is estimated that around 20 people were buried in the Jewish cemetery during this period (all in today's sector A). In October 1941, the mayor of Bielsko, Rudolf Wiesner, proposed the liquidation of the cemetery. The area of the cemetery was to be used for housing construction as part of the Civil War Program. The President of the Regeneration in Katowice allowed for liquidation, but agreed to immediately build the apartments only on the new plot bought in the 1930s, writing to the Bielsko staroste: existing graves must exist for 40 years from the last burial, otherwise it must be made the transfer of graves. The city authorities began preparations for the development of the new part of the cemetery, but the problem of ownership in the mortgage register appeared - the city could not be divided into smaller grounds, which from the point of view of the law belonged to the Jewish Religious Community. The problem was solved only in November 1942. The NSDAP in the Upper Silesian District in a letter to the Supreme President of the Upper Silesia Province regulated the issue of closing Jewish cemeteries: (...) there is already a partial need to close these cemeteries. (...) you can not slavishly hold on to the paragraphs of the act, but you must do what is purposeful and necessary. After the consent of the supervisor for the immediate closing of the cemeteries, the fate of the cemetery in Bielsko was sealed. On October 29, 1943, the liquidation of Jewish cemeteries was stopped by a letter from the Provincial Conservator, in which we read that the National Institute for the History of New Germany intends to write off the tombstones on Jewish cemeteries as they are an important source material for researching the Jewish genealogy and its spread among the German population . After the census, the final consent for closing the cemetery was issued in February 1944. It is not known why the municipal authorities did not implement their previous plans. In the end, the Bielsko Jewish cemetery was not liquidated. However, he was greatly damaged. More than half of the tombstones have been stolen or destroyed, today there are 1,200, while the number of all graves is 3,000. The oldest sector F, which lacks 95% of tombstones, and the completely liquidated quarters for Orthodox Jews suffered the most. The soldier's memorial, pre-funeral house and walls were also damaged. The post-war period. In March 1945, the Jewish Committee in Bielsko was established, which was the first Jewish organization in the town dealing in keeping records of surviving Jews and providing help, social protection, boarding and organization of religious life. He took over the duties related to the administration and care of the cemetery. Two years later, it was transformed into the Congregation of the Jewish Religion in Bielsko (from 1951 in Bielsko-BiaƂa). Immediately after the war, on many tombstones of people who died before 1939, information about relatives who died in the 1940s was begun. They were both short and detailed descriptions - who they were, where and when they died, etc. September 28, 1945 District Office in Bielsko sent a letter to the Jewish Committee in which it was ordered within a month to remove inscriptions from the cemetery in German as part of the fight against German. On October 6, the Committee informed the elders about the removal of the inscriptions, which was not true, as most of the tombstones preserved the German inscriptions. In many cases, the tombstones have been turned over by the inscription section towards the ground in order to hide the inscriptions. In December 1946, the Organizational Committee of Jewish Religious Congregations in Poland donated PLN 50,000 from the investment fund to renovate the seriously damaged cemetery. A year later, an inventory of the renovated pre-burial house was made. Another renovation took place in the early 1960s, when brick walls and entrance gates were devastated. In 1963, on the basis of the decree on abandoned and post-German assets from 1945, the cemetery became the property of the Treasury as a result of acquisitive prescription. The Congregation appealed against this decision, arguing that the property, already in the 1930s owned by the Jewish kehilla, was in its possession as an active, used cemetery. In addition, pursuant to the Act of 1959, the taking over of an active denominational cemetery would not take place without the consent of the Minister of Public Utilities. Despite appeals and protests, the State Treasury was the owner of the cemetery. On October 5, 1965, the Municipal National Council in Bielsko-BiaƂa applied to the Provincial National Council in Katowice for the closure and liquidation of a part of the cemetery with an area of 9197 m - an empty plot purchased in the 1930s (today sector G). It was to be intended for residential construction. The Congregation appealed against this decision, arguing that there is a shortage of space in the older part, and this plot can be used in the near future. Eventually, WRN in Katowice agreed to leave the cemetery entirely. At the same time, the municipal and provincial authorities decided to liquidate the cemetery in BiaƂa, at ul. Liberation. Liquidation of the necropolis was, according to the authorities, necessary for the expansion of the Southern Sports Equipment Plant Polsport. After long discussions, the Congregation agreed to the exhumation of some of the corpses from the BiaƂystok Jewish cemetery. Between June 1966 and May 1967, ashes from 170 of 1700 graves were exhumed. They came together with the tombstones to the cemetery in Aleksandrowice - on an empty plot constituting today's sector G. In 1972, by virtue of the decision of the District Court in Bielsko-BiaƂa, the Jewish cemetery came under municipal management as a municipal cemetery. The 1950s, 60s and 70s were a progressive devastation of the cemetery. Domestic animals and breeding birds were raised here, cattle grazed, and the pre-funeral home became a place for storing grass. Twice, in 1962 and 1979, the Municipal Sanitary and Epidemiological Station intervened in this matter. The problem was also the lack of a new cemetery book, taking into account the destruction of the war, which made the Jewish cemetery visitors often have difficulty finding the grave. In 1983, pursuant to the decision of the State Service for the Protection of Monuments, the cemetery was considered a monument. A year later, the Voivodship Monument Conservator in Bielsko-BiaƂa presented the Bielsko-BiaƂa Municipal Management Board with the exact scope of necessary renovation works along with practical guidelines for the renovation of the cemetery and pre-burial house. The first renovation project - the exchange of the pre-burial house roof cover was positively evaluated in 1985. On August 29, 1988, at the request of the Department of Culture and Arts of the Voivodship Office in Bielsko-BiaƂa, the whole cemetery was formally declared, within the fence wall, along with a fence wall, gravestones, graveyard greenery , arrangement of avenues and paths, graves and monumental tombstones, as well as a historic pre-burial house, made of bricks, with its dĂ©cor and economic, residential and ritual buildings to the register of monuments of the Bielsko Province under number A-582/88. In 1997, at the request of the Jewish Religious Community, the painting decor and the floor of the pre-burial house were separately entered in the register under the number B-61/1. At the end of the 1980s, on the initiative of the then caretaker of the cemetery, Leopold Klein, the campaign to organize the Jewish cemetery was carried out, including raising tombstones turned over in the 1940s to hide German inscriptions. In 1991, the Nissenbaum Family Foundation undertook to care for the cemetery. She completely renovated the quarters of soldiers who died in World War I, renewing all 61 graves, as well as a soldier's monument. A year later, the next renovation works began, which became possible thanks to the subsidy of the Polish-German Cooperation Fund and the collection of money among the members of the Association of Bielsko-Biala Jews in Israel. The renovation fund was also supported by the Voivodship Monument Conservator in Bielsko-BiaƂa, the Voivodship Office in Bielsko-BiaƂa and the Office of the Council of Ministers - Office for Religious Affairs. In the pre-burial house, work was carried out, which shows that they prevented a construction disaster that threatened the historic building. The land around the pre-burial house was reclaimed from the Nissenbaum Foundation's money, and lawns were also arranged. At the same time, fragments of tombstones returned to the cemetery, which in 1949 served to build the Monument of Gratitude to the Soviet Army at pl. St. Nicholas. In 1999, the conservation of valuable roof polychromes in a pre-burial house began, financed by a general conservator. In the same year, the Jewish Religious Community commissioned the ordering of the cemetery's greenery. In 1992, another change in the ownership of the cemetery took place. The Bielsko-BiaƂa voivode concluded that he acquired the property under the law on behalf of the city of Bielsko-BiaƂa. The Congregation of Jewish Religion appealed against this decision to the National Enfranchisement Commission, which in 1993 annulled the voivode's decision and remitted the case to the first instance authority. The situation changed five years later, in 1997, when the same Provincial Office in Bielsko-BiaƂa administratively returned the ownership of the cemetery to the Jewish Community in Bielsko-BiaƂa, which was the legal successor of the Bielsko-BiaƂa Congregation of the Mosaic Confession. In 1995, the cemetery was re-inventoried. In addition to the census and the new numbering of the graves, the necropolis was divided into seven sectors, dividing into rows. In 2002, the Municipal Office in Bielsko-BiaƂa published a book by Jacek Proszyk titled: Jewish cemetery in Bielsko-BiaƂa, which is the result of historical research conducted in the cemetery from the mid-90s. Thanks to the collection of money among the city's inhabitants, in 2009, new gravestones (the original ones lost during the war) were unveiled in the cemetery: Salomon Halberstam, Solomon Pollak, Karol Korn and rabbis: Lazar Frankfurter, Wolf Lesser and Michael Schöngut. In the pre-funeral home, plaques in honor of Aleksander Marten and Arie Jan Machauf were unveiled. On September 7, 2009, a memorial monument to the Jewish citizens of Bielsko-BiaƂa and the area was unveiled, who in the years 1939-1945 were murdered by the Nazis or died in exile. Statistics of burials. There are no record books covering deaths for the first 25 years of the cemetery existence, hence all statistics have been conducted only since 1874. On the basis of the preserved cemetery book kept since 1849, however, it can be estimated that in the first period about 500 people were buried. By 1939, the number of burials varied between 20 and 50 during the year. Most, as many as 85 people were buried in 1918. This figure was overestimated mainly by soldiers. From 1940, the number of people buried in the Jewish cemetery dropped drastically, amounting to always below 10. During the postwar period, no burial was noted several times during the year. In total, during the 160 years of the existence of the necropolis, about 3,600 people were buried there. The oldest people buried in the Jewish cemetery in Aleksandrowice are those who died at the age of 104: Salomon Hamburger (1771-1875) and Benjamin Falek (1896-2000). [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
Location and spatial shape
The Jewish cemetery is located in the downtown part of the Aleksandrowice district, between CieszyƄska Street in the south and M. Konopnickiej Street in the north. According to the numbering, it is located at ul. Cieszyn 92. Occupies five registration plots: building lots 89 and 95, and land plots No. 579/3, 580 and 584. There are various buildings around: tenements, single-family houses and blocks of flats (housing estates: Piastowskie and SƂoneczne). The area of the Jewish cemetery is 23,900 m (2.39 ha), of which tombstones alone occupy about 10,000. m (1 ha). The area of the cemetery is a sloping ground, falling towards ul. Cieszyn. The pre-funeral house is located at an altitude of 361 m above sea level. There are three gates leading to the cemetery: two from the side of ul. Konopnickiej and one, the main one, from the side of ul. Cieszyn. The main avenue runs from the pre-funeral home to the north. It is called Aleja ZasƂuĆŒonych. The Bielsko Jewish cemetery can be divided into three main parts. In the south, surrounded by greenery without tombstones, there is a pre-burial house. Behind it stretches a rectangular burial surface, mostly filled with graves. The third part is a plot separated from the rest by a wall purchased in the interwar period, where only graves transferred from the cemetery at ul. Liberation. Since 1995, the necropolis has been divided into seven sectors marked with the letters AG, which in turn are divided into rows. Sector A is the youngest and best kept accommodation, located in the south-eastern part. Sector B is also located in the southern part (west of sector A) and was used from the end of the 19th century to the 20s of the following century. Sector C, used in the same period as B and located north of A, is a quarters containing tombs of the richest people, which is primarily indicated by the shape and size of the tombstones. Sector D, located in the north-western part, is a children's quarters where children and teenagers who were under 13 years old were buried. It was used from the founding of the cemetery until the World War II. It is very neglected, and most of the few preserved tombstones are damaged. Sector E lies between sectors A and D. Buried here were soldiers of Jewish origin who died during World War I. Sector F in the north-western part, the oldest part of the cemetery, where very few tombstones have been preserved. It is estimated that about 95% of the graves are missing. Sector G is the most distant and at the same time the least grave part of the Jewish cemetery. The area separated by the wall was used twice: in the 1930s, the orthodox quarters destroyed during the war were created here, and in the 1960s, the exhumed corpse from the liquidated cemetery at ul. Liberation. It is located in the western part, on a plot bought in the interwar period. [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
Form. Grave forms appearing in the Jewish cemetery in Krosno can be divided, taking into account the time of creation. From the founding of the cemetery in 1849 until the end of the 19th century, the most popular were the matzevot made of sandstone - rectangular plates closed with a semicircular arch or a gable roof, in the top of which there is an ornament, symbolic representation or initial formula of the inscription, and the front wall is filled with an epitaph. There are also matzevot whose finials are included in quarter-round surpluses, as well as having a separate three-level pedestal and a bridgehead separated by a beam. On several graves of marriages, double matzevot were placed. Most matzevot from the Bielsko necropolis was stolen in the 1940s or destroyed by erosion. The most survived in the oldest sector of F. More wealthy people, succumbing to the influence of Austrian culture, put on the graves of close to large (up to 3 m) obelisks. They are monolithic quadrilateral pillars in the form of a pyramid, tapering upwards, beheaded, placed on a plinth or pedestal. The inscriptions are on both the pedestal and the upper part. Obelisks quickly became the most popular grave form and were commonly used until the 1920s. At the beginning of the twentieth century, graves in the form of aedicula were rare - an alcove or shrine placed on a pedestal. It happens that their pediment is supported on two columns. In the inter-war period, steles became widespread - vertical, decorated plates, symmetric half-columns limited on their sides, holding a profiled cornice and topped with a pediment in various shapes. Between the half-columns there is an inscription table, and the symbolic representations in the culmination. Then rectangular plates were deprived of ornamentation. After the Second World War, simple, vertical plates with a flat top or a semicircular arch were placed on the graves. Against this background, the modest grave features the grave of Benzion SokiƄski (died 1953), whose only decorative element is the Star of David. The tombstones that can not be qualified for any of the following forms are: * Albert Liechtenstein's tombstone (died in 1873) in the form of a crenellated column placed on a pedestal with an array of inscriptions * Mendel Ginzburg's tombstone (died 1968) in the form of a regular prism made of terrazzo; on one of its sides there is a marble Star of David, in the central part of which an inscription was written, and in the corners five letters of the final formula: * functionalist gravestones of Alfred Wachtl (died 1934) and Moritz Heilperna (died 1932) * Theodor's secessional tomb (died 1912) ) and Evelina (died 1925) PollakĂłw * tomb of a married couple Charlotte (died 1907) and Samuel (died 1912) Schindels in the form of two matzevot of black marble hung on a wrought metal fence with rich plant ornamentation * Bruno Rauchmann's tombstone (died 1926) ) in the form of an obelisk consisting of a four-sided post completed with a rectangular prism, having four upper edges enclosed in quarter-circular surpluses; its shape resembles the sculptural forms of sculptures of ancient Greece and Egypt, as well as the altar from the Temple of Jerusalem * Henryk Luft-Lotar's tombstone (died 1979) in the form of a double metal rod resembling a semicircular matzah with a shape attached to the top of the inscription plate; a Star of David inscribed in the circle was affixed to the frame located in the circle. Contemporary tombstones are no different (except for the lack of a cross) from graves in Christian cemeteries. Size. The largest single gravestone (and one of the oldest) is the obelisk commemorating the deceased in 1862, the manufacturer Moritz Baum. It has a height of 3 m, base dimensions 0.9 × 0.45 m and dimensions at the top 0.7 × 0.45 m. Other high obelisks commemorate Dr. Josef Körbel - 3.2 m and the merchant Isaak Goldberg - 3 m. Not much smaller there are obelisks on the graves of Susanna Baum and Leopold Baum. The lowest one is set on the grave of Emil Neuman - it is 60 cm long. Most often, however, the graves in the form of an obelisk reach from 1.5 to 2 m in height. The tombstones, in turn, are the tombstones. From individual tombstones, tombs are larger, whose average dimensions are 3 m high and 3 m wide. The largest is entirely made of black marble, topped with a gable, surrounded by a forged metal fence, a rectangular monument commemorating the merchant Hermann Lindner and his wife Rosa. Materials. Tombstones located in the Jewish cemetery in Bielsko are made of many different raw materials, ranging from poor quality of sandstone to noble marble varieties. Materials that were used to build tombstones for the Jewish cemetery are: * sandstone (including the sandstone of SieƄeƄ from nearby Straconka) * limestone (white fine-grained, coarse-grained, Lipnician) * red and gray granite * marbles: white, gray, pink and black * terrazzo * thick, glass plates, from which several inscription tables were made * metal (mainly cast iron rods and brass signs) . Inscriptions. The inscriptions are usually made in the form of a written inscription, convex inscriptions are rare. It happens that the name of the deceased or the final formula have the form of bas-relief. The texts on the gravestones of the Jewish cemetery in Bielsko were carved in four languages: Hebrew, German, Polish and Yiddish. Most have double inscriptions: in Hebrew and in any of the other languages. Practically everywhere there are two elements of the Hebrew inscription - the initial or final formula. Inscriptions in Hebrew. Inscriptions in Hebrew, considered to be holy, occur on most tombstones. They are made in the classic Hebrew alphabet, and the letters are devoid of ornaments. Due to the progressive character of the Bielsko commune, and thus less attaching to traditional formulas, definitely longer inscriptions (up to 20 lines) appear on graves transferred from the necropolis at ul. Liberation. Others rarely exceed 10 lines. In the interwar period, the number of Hebrew inscriptions on new graves began to decrease very quickly. This was mainly due to the high costs of writing subtitles. At the same time, after World War II, in many cases the posting of Hebrew subtitles was abandoned - only two tombstones from the war (Tylla Schlenger and Moshe Loschsberger) have only Hebrew inscriptions. The departure from tradition was caused, among the lack of a good knowledge of Hebrew among members of the religious community and the lack of stonemasons familiar with the Hebrew alphabet - the last was Szymon Wulkan died in 1969. At the end of the twentieth century, the Bielsko Jewish community returned to the tradition of placing Hebrew inscriptions on tombstones made to its order. In many cases, Hebrew inscriptions appear next to subtitles in German or Polish. Diagram of Hebrew inscriptions. The Hebrew inscriptions at the Jewish cemetery in Bielsko-BiaƂa have a unified scheme characteristic of all Jewish graves. They consist of the following parts: * the initial funeral formula or, short for words meaning here, buried or hidden here; this formula appears on almost all graves, even those without any other Hebrew inscriptions * information about the sex, age and marital status of the deceased * epithets, and the titles, dignities and offices that the deceased had; on a few tombstones, information about what he did during his lifetime * Hebrew (often different from German / Polish) name of the deceased (often distinguished by enlarged letters or decorative frame), father's name (sometimes with the place where he came from) and in the case of women - also a husband; these names are usually accompanied by phrases of the type of blessed memory (-), master (), venerable master (), let him rest in peace (), let his light shine (), scholar [...] etc. * date of death and sometimes date of funeral (both recorded according to the Jewish calendar) preceded by the word departed (); usually in full day-month-year form * on some graves, a verse text containing, among others, epithets, praise, lamentations, biblical quotations, etc; sometimes he creates akrostych, creating the name of the deceased; * final formula in the form of a shortcut (taw, nun, cadi, bet, hei), which in development means - May his soul share in eternal life; this formula appears on almost all graves, even those without any other Hebrew inscriptions. Inscriptions in German. Inscriptions in German belong to the most common ones in Hebrew, because before 1945 for the majority of Jews in Bielsko he was the mother tongue. The German text is written in both regular and italic fonts and in Gothic. German inscriptions did not have a fixed pattern and differ from each other in terms of the amount of text. You can meet very short information - name and dates of birth and death, slightly longer, containing, for example, information about the profession or activity, but also - patterned on Hebrew - poems about the virtues of the deceased, the meaning of life, God, mourning after death, as well as activities and merits. The final formulas are not different from those placed on Christian graves. The dates are saved according to the Gregorian calendar. Inscriptions in Polish. The first inscriptions in Polish began to appear in the interwar period. Initially, they were short information (eg born, died) and final formulas. The only subtitles were subtitles in Polish. Polish inscriptions spread after the Second World War. Initially, they were first of all written on the graves of people who died before 1939. Information about relatives who died in the 1940s. These are both brief descriptions and quite detailed descriptions - who they were, where and when they died, etc. Among the phrases found on tombstones most often occur: in memory, memory of victims of the Nazi occupation, murdered in 1939-1945, martyrs of Nazi terror and the memory of the barbarians murdered by the thugs of the Nazi / Nazis. Polish inscriptions were also engraved on the graves of Jewish soldiers who died during the war. Later, due to the lack of the German-speaking population and the increasingly weaker knowledge of Hebrew, Polish became the dominant language for new tombstones. The dates are saved according to the Gregorian calendar. It happens that next to it is a date according to the Jewish calendar. Inscriptions in Yiddish. Inscriptions in Yiddish, a dialect created by medieval Jews living in German states, belong to the rarest in the Bielany cemetery. This is due to the fact that the Bielsk Jews practically never used it - the German-speaking population predominated (less Polish-speaking), while the liturgy used Hebrew. The longest preserved inscription in Yiddish is on the monument commemorating soldiers of Jewish origin who died during World War I. Symbols. On many tombstones, in addition to the inscription, there are symbolic performances. Most often they are bas-reliefs topping epitaphs. They fulfill both the decoration function and the symbol. In comparison with many other Jewish cemeteries, Bielsko is quite poor in tomb symbolism. This is due to from the fact that it was more willingly used by orthodox communities, and the Bielsko commune was progressive. The grave symbols found at the Jewish cemetery in Bielsko-BiaƂa are: * Star of David - a symbol used in antiquity as a magical sign, currently denoting belonging to the Jewish nation; is located on several tombs; * Palm or tree - a symbol probably referring to the verse Righteous as the palm will bloom from Psalm 92, which also reflects longing for the Promised Land; is the most popular symbol found in the necropolis and occurs both in the form of the whole tree (most often with cut off branches) and the leaves themselves; * Crown - a symbol appearing only on the graves of men, most often referred to the devotion of the deceased or the fact that he was at the head of the family, commune or some other group; often in the crown itself or next to it are engraved letters or the whole word - Keter Shem Tov (crown of the good name); * The priest's hands arranged in a gesture of blessing - a symbol found only on the graves of men; means belonging to the family of Priests; * Pitcher and bowl - a symbol placed only on the gravestones of men, meaning belonging to the generation of Levi; * Candlestick - a symbol found only on the graves of women, presented in the form of multi-armed, single candles or candlesticks; it happens that the presented candles are broken, symbolizing a broken life; * Flowers and other plants - symbols found mainly on the graves of children and people who died at a young age; on many tombstones there are also stylized floral ornaments; * Lions - a symbol referring directly to the tribe of Judah; on gravestones they often take the form of a pair of heraldic lions; * Sickle and hammer - probably the only tombstone in the Bielsko cemetery, in whose top these symbols were made; it commemorates a member of the PZPR (no further information about the activity), Zofia Herbst who died in 1950; Some of these symbols are connected to each other on tombstones. It also happens that several symbolic performances have been placed on one grave. Stonemasons. Thanks to the signatures on the tombstones, most of the names of stonemasons making graves for the Jewish cemetery in Bielsko are known. Most tombstones come from the plant of Salomon Leizer Wulkan. He was a member of a family from Oƛwięcim with many years of stonework traditions. Initially, he had a plant at pl. Solny in Oƛwięcim, then in Bielsko at ul. Blichowa 19, then Nad ƚcieĆŒką 5. The buoyant activity of his plant is primarily evidenced by the very large number of advertisements published in Bielsko-BiaƂa newspapers: Bielitz-Bialaer Anzeiger (Polish: Bielsko-Bialskie News) and JĂŒdisches Volksblatt - Jewish Weekly. A large part of the graves was also made in the following plants: * AJ Wulkana from Auschwitz (gravestones to the cemetery at Wyzwolenia Street, usually on the order of the orthodox Jewish community of both cities, characterized by a large number of inscriptions in Hebrew) * Theodor Gröger from Bielsko (mainly the most expensive and the most exclusive tombs) * Josef Scheuerer from BiaƂa (similar to Gröger, he was the contractor of more expensive tombstones) Single tombstones come from the plants that were led by the following stonemasons: * Ryszard Borger from Bielsko * Salomon Allerhand from BiaƂa * Neuhoff from Bielsko * Weinlich from Opava * Becke from Moravian Ostrava * Figatner brothers from Krakow * Smetana from Moravian Ostrava * M. Sonnenschein from Vienna * Ed. Hauser from Vienna [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
Pre-burial house
The pre-funeral house, in other words the building where the funeral services take place, is located in the southern part of the cemetery, opposite the entrance from the side of ul. CieszyƄska, surrounded by greenery. Funeral rites are held in the hall located in the central part of the building. The west wing houses the morgue, while in the east wing, the cemetery guardian lives with his family. The first pre-burial house was built in 1867 by a construction company of Bielsko-BiaƂa architect Andrzej Walczak. The construction costs were covered by voluntary donations of members of the local Jewish kehilla. At the beginning of the 1880s, the building, much smaller than the present one, burned down. After tidying up the area, in 1885, a new building designed by Karol Korn was erected in the same place. Currently, it is the only Jewish sacred building in the city. Its architecture (combining the elements of Neo-Romanism and the Mauritanian style), and in particular the bicolor (red-yellow) elevation is similar to the architecture of other objects of the Korna project - a non-existent synagogue at ul. Mickiewicza and neighboring building of the District Court (former seat of the Jewish religious commune in Bielsko), as well as the Main Railway Station. The roof of the pre-burial house is covered with sheet metal on a wooden truss. The floor in the main hall was made of two-color terracotta, surrounded by a border with a braided ornament. The most valuable element of the interior of the building are the ceiling polychromes located in the main room. They cover an area of 144 m (16 × 9 m). They were designed on the basis of divisions using profiled beams with gilded channels. Beam bases measure 1 × 0.15 m, while profiled beams 1 × 0.5 m. The ceiling is separated from the walls by painted facets and profiled cornices. Polychrome was made in adhesive technique, on a thin sand-lime mortar, located on a reed mat, nailed to a wooden soffit, consisting of small beams adjacent to each other. The coffered ceiling is based on a harmonious composition of squares and rectangles of various sizes. The largest three square panels fill the center part of the ceiling in the belt system. They also designate two perpendicular axes of symmetry, on which the entire structure of the ceiling rests. On both sides of the line analogous panel systems were created. The smallest square coffers were placed along the side walls, which resulted in a decorative border surrounding the central cassettes having the richest polychrome. The further away from the center, the size of the coffers decreases. The layout of the polychrome creates the impression of a compact whole subordinated to key elements, which proves the inspiration of the architect with classical art. Appealing to her is also visible in ornamentation. The most distant coffers are decorated with plant decorations and geometrical motifs, treated fairly freely. In the coffers directly adjacent to the three largest plant motifs are much more subordinated to limited geometrical planes. In turn, the central cassettes that are key to the entire structure have a very meticulous arrangement of plant ornaments enclosed in very small geometric fields, each of which has been made with great accuracy and attention to every element. The ceiling is the only preserved type of Jewish sacred culture in this region. The author of the work remains unknown. The walls are divided by pilasters into fields - six pilasters on the east and west wall, and four on the north and south walls. On the walls there are polychromes, having an area of 350 m (16 × 7 on the eastern and western wall and 9 × 7 m on the northern and southern walls). However, they have been painted over in white paint, which means that you can see only small fragments, exposed as a result of conservation work. The entire painting of walls and ceiling and the floor are protected by law. In 1997, at the request of the Jewish Community, they were separately entered in the register of monuments under number B-61/1. Inside the main hall there are five plaques commemorating Bielsko families who died during World War II (Bochnerowie, PopioƂów, Goldfreundowie, Rosenzweigowie and Königsbergowie), plaque commemorating the long-term Bielin rabbi - Markus Steiner, plaque commemorating the actor and theater and film director Alexander Marten as well as a memorial plaque for soldiers, Jewish residents of Bielsko-BiaƂa and surrounding areas who died in World War II in the fight for Poland's freedom. In front of the eastern wall there is a symbolic marble tombstone with a quote from Ezekiel's book and the signature: Memory of Jews murdered during World War II. In the pre-burial house, the oldest gravestone, the matzeva of Josef Neumann, who died on September 3, 1849, was placed, which could no longer be subjected to atmospheric factors. [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
fauna and Flora
The Jewish cemetery is one of the enclaves of wild nature in the center of Bielsko-BiaƂa. The most valuable element of the flora is common ivy with often seen flowering specimens. It covers trees, graves and walls, as well as plots on the ground. The most fertile sector is F. Ivy has been growing on the Jewish cemetery for a long time, as evidenced by the thickness of shoots reaching 15 cm. Of the trees, the most is tui (about 40), acacia (about 30), ordinary clones (about 30) and chestnut (about 20). In addition, there are also a few specimens of ash, willow, fir, larch, sycamore, common yew, cypress and nutkian cypress. Defects in the form of fallen trees are systematically supplemented with young copies. The most valuable elements of the stand include: a string of acacia robinia in the spheroidal variety along Aleja ZasƂuĆŒonych and two avenue chestnut trees - in sector F and between sectors F and B (the trees in the first of which were once specially shaped to raise the aesthetic values), and single specimens - small-leaved lime in sector F and weeping willow in the southern part. Other plants found in the cemetery include Robert's mocking, wall mural, common periwinkle, coral reef and primrose. Graveyard green is systematically cherished. The Kirkut is also a convenient place for nesting many species of park birds. It is inhabited by canes, speckled woodpeckers, blackbirds, nests, nutholes, cinderelles, blue tassels and Turkish turtles. In addition to birds, there are many types of rodents and small fur mammals. [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
The cemetery is open from dawn to dusk on weekdays and on Sundays, closed on Saturday (Sabbath) and Jewish holidays. According to Jewish tradition, men visiting the Jewish cemetery should have a hat. Eating and drinking is forbidden. Information on people buried in the Jewish cemetery is provided by the office of the Jewish Religious Community at ul. 3 Maja 7. Information about, for example, the place of burial is provided by the guardian of the cemetery, who lives in the pre-burial house. [source: Wikipedia, 540588]
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