Jewish Cemetery, Pokój
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Jewish cemetery is the only trace of the Jewish community that existed in Pokój. Tombstones, which have been preserved only in about half the area of the cemetery, represent sepulchral and epigraphic art characteristic of the assimilated nineteenth-/twentieth-century community.

History

Probably the first Jews settled in Pokój in the 1770s. The Jewish minority represented a small percentage of all inhabitants (about 5% in the mid-19th century). In the 1860s, there was a Jewish school in Pokój, and around 1865 on the western side of Charlotten Allee (now 1 Maja/Sienkiewicza Street) a masonry synagogue was built, which indicates that an organised commune functioned at that time. In 1872, the synagogue joined the Association of Upper Silesian Synagogues.

The first information about the Jewish cemetery in Pokój date from 1773. The cemetery is located north-east of the central complex in Pokój, north of the site where a synagogue in 1 Maja Street was located. Formally, the area of the cemetery became the property of the commune in 1872. (The oldest tombstone preserved in the cemetery also bears that date).

In the 1930s, the Jews gradually left Pokój because of growing repressions against the Jews. After the Kristallnacht, when the synagogue was burned down, among others, the last of them were taken from the village. After World War 2, the masonry pre-burial house, which was located in the front part of the cemetery, was demolished. The tombstones around it were destroyed and stolen. Until the end of the 1980s, 128 matzevot were preserved.

Description

The cemetery is located in the northern part of the village, on the northern side of Kolejowa Street, surrounded by a forest. It is rectangular in shape and covers an area of approx. 0.3 ha. It is surrounded by a wooden fence; the entrance is marked by two plastered prick posts. The cemetery features no discernible traffic layout and several old trees.

Only tombstones in the back of the cemetery, arranged in rows, have survived. They were made of limestone and sandstone in stonemasons' workshops, among others, in Brzeg and Miejsce, as indicated by the signatures on them.

The Jews residing in Pokój formed an assimilated community, which is also reflected in the cemetery. In many cases, tombstones from the 1880s and 1930s have the form of an obelisk or a vertical plaque terminating in a triangle. There are also matzevot topped with an arch, including matzevot reminiscent of tombstones of older type, such as the matzevah of Herrmann Angress, died 1903. Carved inscriptions are in the Hebrew, German, or both languages. They feature various typefaces; the letters were often painted in gold or black. Some epitaphs were decorated with gilded arabesque. Symbolic motifs found in the Jewish sepulchral art in the cemetery in Pokój include, for example, a broken tree and flower, and the Star of David.

The cemetery is not in use and is open to visitors.

compiled by Joanna Szot, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 28-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of the Jewish cemetery in Pokój, prepared by B. Zając, 1986, Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Opole.
  • Knie J.G., Geographische Beschreibung von Schlesien preußischen Antheils, der Grafschaft Glatz und der preußischen Markgrafschaft Ober-Lausitz, Abt. 2, Th. 3, Breslau 1832.
  • Rossa M., Der Park von Karlsruhe in Oberschlesien von 1748 bis heute und die Chronik Bad Carlsruhes als Kurort und Bad, Eschborn 2003.
  • Zimmermann F.A., Beyträge zur Beschreibung von Schlesien, Bd. 3, Brieg 1784.

General information

  • Type: Jewish cemetery
  • Chronology: 3. ćw. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kolejowa , Pokój
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district namysłowski, commune Pokój
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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