A Silent Contemplation – The Łódź Jewish Cemetery

Why do I find such peace and mindfulness walking in cemeteries? Over the years I have learned that many people do. I also have my own favourites. Père Lachaise in Paris and Highgate in London. But since I visited The Warsaw Jewish Cemetery, I have come to understand, that nowhere else you will find… that special mood.

Jewish Cemeteries have a beauty of their own. They are all abandoned, and speak of a deep sadness over the dead souls and over all sons and daughters lost. There is no one left to care for the graves.

Ivy clad and hidden – and the silence is complete.

The Łódź Jewish Cemetery, also known as the New Jewish Cemetery, was once the largest Jewish cemetery in Poland, and one of the largest in the world. It was opened in 1892 and occupies around 44 hectares of land.

According to Wikipedia, the cemetery contains from 180,000 to 230,000 marked graves, as well as mass graves of victims of the Litzmannstadt Ghetto and the Holocaust.

Out in the open, the many names stood facing the sun. Maybe even more impressive seen in black, from behind.

From 1893 to 1896, the basic construction of the necropolis was completed by the well-known architect Adolf Zeligson.Today over a hundred of historical grave sites have been declared historical monuments and are in various stages of restoration. The cemetery also continues to function as a Jewish burial site.

The mausoleum of Izrael Poznański is perhaps the largest Jewish tombstone in the world and the only one containing decorative mosaic. It is towering like a white elephant over the old stones…

…But I prefer the little things…the ornate carvings and the rusty old fences…

And, the intense stillness and beauty. Thank you for walking with me.

 

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Konstverk på Judiska Kyrkogården – The Jewish Cemetery – A Closer Look At the Art Work

A closer look at the art work – shows that most of the stones are simple and serenely made. But there are also angels like this one – larger than life, taller than a human being.

I walked around it – just to find that someone was left to care for this grave.

Some elaborate stone sculptures were still standing, while others were resting on the ground.

Iron fences elaborately crafted. The details still …

intact.

Together with the green saplings they felt almost alive. And against the dark trees – monumental.

The upper part of the stones are almost always serenely held. The ones shown here are some of the very few I found with patterns or ornaments. The most common decorations were leaves, lions or deer, some hands as well. I just loved the ones I found with books or trees hanging over, leaning on them.

So many stories that are never to be told.

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En stilla vandring på judiska kyrkogården i Warszawa – A silent walk in the Jewish Cemetery, Warsaw

Den judiska kyrkogården i Warszawa ligger på Okopawa Street, ca en halvtimmes promenad från Gamla Staden. Det är en av de största judiska kyrkogårdarna i Europa. Den började användas 1806 och sträcker sig över hela 33 hektar mark. Över 200 000 gravar finns här inne bland träden – och här finns också massgravar med offren från Warszawas Ghetto. Mycket är övervuxet, och fallna och brutna stenar ligger under dessa höga trädstammar.

The Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery is one of the largest Jewish Cemeteries in Europe. Located on Warsaw’s Okopowa street. The Jewish Cemetery was established in 1806 and occupies 33 hectares (83 acres) of land. The cemetery contains over 200,000 marked graves, as well as mass graves of victims of the Warsaw Ghetto. Many of these graves and crypts are overgrown, having been abandoned after the German invasion of Poland and the Holocaust. Although the cemetery was closed down during WWII, after the war it was reopened and a small portion of it remains active, serving Warsaw’s small remaining Jewish population.

De flesta gravstenar är mycket enkelt dekorerade, men det finns också rikt utsirade monument i olika stilar – från Egypteninspirerade till Art deco. Mycket vanligt är lejon och hjortar, men också händer. Några har till och med böcker – och en  vattenpump.

The cemetery is filled with monuments to Jewish communists, orthodox rabbis, and everyone in between. Many of the markers are simple, others are elaborately carved with angels drooping mournfully over a tomb or with large, elaborate bas relief panoramas of a somewhat imaginary medieval Warsaw. Large mausoleums also appear in different styles ranging from Egyptian to Art deco.

Det är en märklig känsla att vandra på dessa stigar bland de högvuxna, mörka träden. Alla dessa människor som begravts här, vars ättlingar alla gått under i Förintelsen. Ingen kan ta hand om gravarna.

It’s a strange feeling walking here…among those high grown, dark trees and all the graves without people left to care for them…everyone was lost in the Holocaust.

Mycken skönhet göms också här. Både i detaljer och i alltet. Själen vilar i vandringen. Några enstaka violer bryter igenom .

There is so much beauty here. In details as in the whole. Your soul is resting while you are walking. and a ray of violets shine on your path.