Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery Poland, Warsaw

Okopowa Street Jewish Cemetery

The Warsaw Jewish Cemetery is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Europe and in the world. Located on Warsaw's Okopowa Street and abutting the Powązki Cemetery at 52°14′51″N 20°58′29″E / 52.24750°N 20.97472°E, the Jewish necropolis was established in 1806 and occupies 33 hectares (83 acres) of land. The cemetery contains over 250,000 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 subsequent Holocaust. Although the cemetery was closed down during World War II, after the war it was reopened and a small portion of it remains active, serving Warsaw's small existing Jewish population.

As the cemetery was established to replace many smaller cemeteries closer to the city centre, it was designed to serve all Jewish communities of Warsaw, regardless of their affiliation. Because of that it is subdivided into several districts dubbed quarters (kwatery), historically reserved for various groups. Among them are three Orthodox (for men, women and one for holy scriptures), Reform Judaism, children, military and Ghetto Uprising victims.

The cemetery, which has become a dense forest in the post-war period, is filled with monuments to Jewish communists, orthodox rabbis, and everyone in between. Many of the markers are simple, others are elaborately carved with Art nouveau angels drooping mournfully over a tomb or with large, elaborate bas relief panoramas of a somewhat imaginary medieval Warsaw. Large mausoleums appear in styles ranging from Egyptian revival to Art deco.

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