New Jewish cemetery, Prudnik
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The new Jewish cemetery in Prudnik features graves of members of the Fränkel and Pinkus families, factory owners and philanthropists, of outstanding merit to the town and its communities, town councillors, Jewish community leaders, founders of scholarship funds, founders of hospital, nursing homes, and municipal park. Among them there are Samuel Fränkel who came from Biała and was a founder of the renowned textile factory S. Fränkel Tischzeug-, Leinwand- und Frottierfabrik, producing mainly table clothes, carrying out orders from Brazil to the Vatican, philanthropist, founder, among others, of the currently nonexistent synagogue, also supporting the activities of the Catholics and Protestant residing in Prudnik; his wife Ernestine and daughters, who carried out activities for charitable purposes, his sons Abraham, Albert, Hermann and Emanuel, who continued industrial, commercial and philanthropic undertakings of their father (founders of the park and the municipal bathhouse, among others); son-in-law of Samuel Josef Pinkus, contributor to the successes of the Fränkel family factory, art patron and collector of works of art, and his son Max Pinkus, founder of one of the largest Silesian libraries in Europe, who together with his wife Hedwig founded the hospital in Prudnik.

History

The cemetery in Kolejowa Street is the second Jewish necropolis in Prudnik known from historical records. The first one, the so-called old cemetery, was opened by the Jews inhabiting Prudnik at Góra Piaskowa (Sand Mountain) in the today's Wiejska Street in 1541. It was used until 1570, when Emperor Rudolf II ordered them to leave the town as a consequence of the growing conflicts between the Jewish community and the authorities. From then on, few Jews who had lived in Prudnik were buried in the cemetery in Biała. It was only in 1859 that a revived Jewish commune purchased a plot in Kolejowa Street (Bahnhofstrasse) and set up a cemetery thereon. In the next years, a pre-burial house was built in the cemetery area on the street side; since 1990 the house has been used as a Pentecostal Church chapel. The cemetery operated until World War 2.

Description

The Jewish cemetery is located in the northern part of the town, west of the railway stations, on the frontage of detached houses. The entrance leads next to the former pre-burial house adapted for use as a Pentecostal chapel. The area of the cemetery in the shape resembling a rectangle of 0.2 ha is fenced (with the original forged fence to the front).

Today, the original layout of the cemetery, at least partly divided into quarters, is obliterated by a number of overturned gravestones. More than 100 gravestones and family tombs have survived. They have a form typical of the sepulchral art of assimilated progressive Jewish communities of the 19th/20th century. Exquisite tombs and gravestones in the form of vertical stelae and monuments are made of marble, granite and sandstone. They are covered with inscriptions in the German, Hebrew and both languages. On a few gravestones, there are Jewish iconographic motifs: Star of David or water jug.

In the western part of the cemetery there is a stone inscription plaque dedicated to the memory of prisoners of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp murdered during the evacuation in January 1945.

Some tombstones are overturned and broken. The area of the cemetery is cleaned up from time to time.

The pre-burial house was built of brick on a rectangular floor plan with a vestibule to the south. The one-storey body is covered with a hip roof clad with ceramic roof tiles and surmounted by a round lantern covered with a polygon. The building was designed in Romanesque Revival style as evidence by stepped portals and window openings topped with arches. On the symmetrical façade on the sides of the main entrance, there are bipartite mullioned windows and above each of them there is a round window. Oval windows in the upper part of the side walls allow additional light into the interior. The façades, except for architectural details (base course, window and door surrounds), are plastered.

A modern residential building was added to the north of the pre-burial house, which currently serves as a Christina chapel.

The monument is open to the public.

compiled by Joanna Szot, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 15-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of the Jewish cemetery in Prudnik, prepared by D. Zabagło, 1984, Voivodeship Monuments Protection Office in Opole.
  • Baron A., Max Pinkus. 1857-1934. Śląski przemysłowiec i mecenas kultury, Opole 2008.
  • Chrząszcz J., Geschichte der Stadt Neustadt in Oberschlesien, Neustadt 1912.
  • Rathmann R., Neustadt in Oberschlesien, Berlin 1929.

General information

  • Type: Jewish cemetery
  • Chronology: 1860 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Prudnik
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district prudnicki, commune Prudnik - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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