Jewish Cemetery, Opole
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The cemetery is one of the few, apart from the modernised Old Synagogue and the cantor's house, traces of the centuries-old presence of Jews in Opole.

History

The Jewish settlement in Opole dates back to the 14th century. The proper structures of the commune were established in the 19th century together with the intensive demographic growth of Jews (their share in the total population was from approx. 1.5% to over 10% of the total population). The Jewish cemetery was founded south-east of the town, in Nowa Wieś Królewska (included in the administrative boundaries of Opole in 1955), in 1822. Until that time, burials of local Jews took place mainly in the cemetery in Biała near Prudnik. The size and manner of development of the cemetery area has changed several times. In 1866, the cemetery was extended by the eastern part (in J. Walecki Street), where in the 1870s a pre-funeral house, a building of the funeral brotherhood, and a caretaker's and gardener's house (demolished in the 1960s) were built. The necropolis was sporadically used even after World War 2 — the last burial took place in 1960, and three years later the cemetery was closed and, later, limited to its original size.

Description

The cemetery is located in the south-east part of the city, surrounded by single-family houses, and covers an area of approx. 0.35 ha. Although it is largely overgrown, you can see the original division into 3 quarters separated by rows of trees. Tombstones vary in formal terms: from vertical steles (matzevot) to obelisks, architectural and modernist tombstones. Inscriptions on the oldest tombstones (in the northern quarter) are written in Hebrew. According to the assimilation trend prevailing in Silesia in the 19th century, the Hebrew language in epitaphs is gradually displaced by German. Similarly to other cemeteries, matzevot in Opole bear symbolic motifs related to Judaism and Vanitas art, including hands in a blessing gesture, pitcher and bowl, broken flower and candle, among others.

The cemetery is closed and not used.

compiled by Joanna Szot, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 01-01-2015.

Bibliography

  • Borkowski M., Gmina żydowska w Opolu w latach 1812-1944, Opole 2009.
  • Łabęcka H., Łabęcki Z., Cmentarz żydowski w Opolu. Studium konserwatorskie rozszerzone, typescript, 1987, Archives of the Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Opole.
  • Wodziński W., Hebrajskie inskrypcje na Śląsku XIII-XVIII wieku, Wrocław 1996.

General information

  • Type: Jewish cemetery
  • Chronology: 1822
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Graniczna , Opole
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district Opole, commune Opole
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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