25 December 2010

Warsaw: Jewish cemetery

In early July 2010, I had the opportunity to visit the Jewish cemetery at the Okopowa street in Warsaw. According to information available in the cemetery itself, it was at the end of the 14th century that Jews began coming to town. Not allowed to live there between 1527 and 1795, they began in mid-eighteenth century to settle in large numbers on the outskirts of Warsaw. The local Jewish community established their own cemetery in 1806. Until 1939, 150 000 burials had been performed in this cemetery, covering an area of 33.4 hectares.
In line with the torturous history of that city, the cemetery has, in addition to numerous monuments dedicated to victims of the Holocaust, a huge mass grave with those who perished in the Warsaw ghetto and an area full of symbolic tombs erected by relatives of Holocaust victims who have never been localized.

One of the most famous personalities buried there is Lazar Ludwik Zamenhof (1859-1917) - his tomb was the first to draw my attention with its impressive mosaic representing the green star, symbol of Esperanto. The cemetery still serves the small Jewish community.

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