Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jewish cemeteries close to Tatra Mountains

I felt like a real explorer. Looking through a guidebook I came across an information about a Jewish cemetery in PODWILK in Orava region. Perfect destination for a short trip! Together with Andrzej we decided to find it. Comparing instructions from a guidebook with a map we finally got it. It wasn't so easy - the cemetery is run down and overgrown with bushes.

Jewish cemetery in Podwilk, photo by Andrzej Śliwińśki
The cemetery was founded in the 2nd half of 19thcentury. It served the community of Polish Orava. As we read in a book it contains 62 matzevas but it is hard to count them. The oldest matzeva is from 1880. Tombstone inscriptions were made ​​in Hebrew, there are also epitaphs in German and Hungarian. Matzevas are covered with typical Jewish sepulchral art carvings.

Many of the tombstones is covered with ivy and moss what creates an aura of mystery but at the same time leads to destruction of the gravestones. Several years the cemetery was under the restorations - some matzevas were set vertically, garbage was taken away. Nowadays nobody is taking care of the cemetery.

Matzeva, photo by Andrzej Śliwiński
Matzeva, photo by Andrzej Śliwiński
The cemetery is located high above the village on the slopes of Kuligowa Góra. Coming from Chyżne turn right (before passing the chuch). Then turn right next to the small chapel. The cemetery is hidden in woods.

The remains of other Jewish cemetery you can find also on BACHLEDZKI WIERCH in ZAKOPANE, north-east from the station in Zakopane. You can get there from Zakopianka road - leave car near Luk Oil petrol station, cross the rails and take one road (south-east). After around 300-500 m you will see a fence of the cemetery. The cemetery originated in 1931. In 1941-1942 it was destroyed by Nazis. Nowadays there are no matzevas, only contemporary monument dedicated the Holocaust victims. 

More about Jews in Zakopane you can read here.

   The Jewish cemetery on Bachledzki Wierch.

Another Jewish cemetery is located in CZARNY DUNAJEC. Unfortunately it is also almost completely ruined. You will find there few matzevas, all in very bad condition, and a piece of wall. I have read that after the World Wad II some of the matzevas were used to pave the streets in Czarny Dunajec.  
The cemetery was founded probably in the second half of 19th century. It is located north from the village, on the way to Rabka, on the right side of the road.
The first mention of Jews living in Czarny Dunajec comes from the end of 18th century. In 19th century Jews constituted 14% of the inhabitants of the village. During World War II was built here a labor camp for Jews from all over the Podhale region.
In Czarny Dunajec there is also a synagogue from the 2nd half of 19th century. The building is nowadays abandoned.

Jewish cemetery in Czarny Dunajec, photo by Monika Sliwinska

Other Jewish cemeteries are also in Nowy Targ and Łapsze Niżne.

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