Jewish Heritage Europe

JHE Jewish Cemetery Forum

A Tribe of Stones

In a famously evocative passage published in the early 1980s, the Polish poet Anna Kamienska described the power of abandoned Jewish cemeteries. They were, she wrote:

… a tribe of stones, a people of stones, an obstinate tribe which is ever marching and ever shouting and calling voicelessly. Against the background of native grasses, trees, nettles and blackberries, exotic Hebrew letters are still talking about those who lived here and passed away. About righteous men, just and charitable, about God-fearing and loving women who toiled for others.

Kamienska’s words describe the importance of Jewish cemeteries as commemorative markers for both individuals and entire communities, and they also speak volumes about the sad state of neglect found in most Jewish cemeteries in Poland — and also in many other countries.

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There are estimated to be more than 11,000 Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in Europe. They range from tiny isolated plots to vast urban necropolises with scores of thousands of burials. Particularly in countries and regions where few or no Jews live, most are in neglected or abandoned condition.

Grave markers range from simple slabs to highly decorated stones to elaborate mausolea; epitaphs and inscriptions range from brief notations of name and dates to elaborate poetry: in Hebrew, Yiddish, and many local languages.

We hope that readers will use this Portal to ask and answer questions, exchange information, network, and deepen involvement and awareness regarding research, work, and study related to Jewish cemeteries and their preservation and maintenance.

Explore the links below to access a wide range of links, publications, and other material on Jewish cemeteries. And join the conversation via the comments and EJCAN — the European Jewish Cemetery Advisory Network.

6 comments on “JHE Jewish Cemetery Forum

  1. שלום אני בת להורים שנולדו בעיר לודג
    וסבא שלי קבור בבית העלמין בלודג ויש לי את החלקה והמספר .זה בית העלמין מול הגטו.
    אתם יכולים לעזור לי ולומר לי איך אני יכולה למצוא את הקבר של סבא שלי ששמו הוא אברם זיליג דרובוס
    והאימיל שלי הוא ZIPIBA2@HOTMAIL.COM.תודה

  2. Hi, I’m trying to find your forum and feel like I’m going around in circles. I find a page that says click here for the forum and it takes me to another page that says click here for the forum which takes me back to the first page. The sidebar choices do the same.

    I’m making a trip to Kotesova, Slovakia and nearby towns in the Bytca District in May and I want to photograph the cemeteries. Every stone I can find, if I can. The Lo-Tishkach database is amazing but does not include them, except for the Hlink cemetery which is, oddly, listed as Komarno District – Nitra Region. Previously, these towns were all in the Trencsin District. I checked every entry from Slovakia.

    I have vague directions to the Kotesova cemetery but I’m transcribing the 19th century death records and it appears there are multiple cemeteries (not different names for the same one as the different names appear on the same record page). Some are in towns that I can’t even find modern names for (Kis Neustadl mainly) and others are clearly neighborhoods of Kotesso (Kotesova). I assume they’re all within the same 1-2 mile radius.

    For the Hlink nad Vahom cemetery, the links to show the cemetery or town in Google Maps do not work at all.

    Could you please point me to the forum where I might ask for help finding these places?


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