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GROSS-BIEBERAU: 64401 Hesse (Gerz)
In the north part of Gross-Bieberau, west of Bundesstrasse 38, one finds a solid wall and a stand of tall trees that can easily be recognized from a distance as the Jewish cemetery. It served as a burial place for the Jews of Gross-Bieberau, as well as those of Reinheim, Spachbruecken, and Georgenhausen from 1891 until the expulsion and extermination. Before 1891, those who died in these communities were buried in the cemetery at Dieburg.
     In 1889, the plan to establish a separate Jewish cemetery was approved. On June 11, 1989, the headstones in the Jewish cemetery of Gross-Bieberau were systematically registered by members of the Heimat- und Geschichtsvereins (Homeland and Historical Association) of Babenhausen, their German-language inscriptions copied, and their Hebrew texts photographically preserved. In connection with this essay, the German-language information has been entirely reproduced. A selection of the Hebrew texts can be seen in the photographs.
     The rectangular cemetery, with inner dimensions of 30.2 x 14.6 meters and an area of 516 square meters, is found on land that rises from east to west. On all four sides a high wall surrounds it. Along the length of the wall, there are 14 larger and even more small trees --firs, beeches, and linden. One enters the cemetery from the north through an attractive iron gate that is bordered by two decorated sandstone pillars. The path from the gate divides the cemetery into two squares of equal size. The headstones are found exclusively in the western part; they are arranged in seven rows, with a maximum of 12 stones per row. The layout of the rows is strictly chronological, beginning in the southwestern corner of the cemetery. Details of the layout can be seen in the diagram. Of approximately 58 stones, only one (the oldest) is made of red sandstone; all the others are made of dark syenite. In a few cases, parts of the monuments are artistic in nature. The inscriptions primarily face toward the east. With stones that are composed of multiple sections, the upper stone has been removed for the sake of security and leaned against the footing.
     The shape of the stones is relatively conventional -- primarily obelisks and flat stones; six stones are for double graves of spouses. Decorations on the stones are conservative, with only a few stones having modern art and art deco ornamentation (e.g., 2/03 from 1905, 3/02 from 1912, 3/07 from 1914, 4/04 from 1925 and 6/04 from 1934). Symbols are similarly sparing. The Star of David is found on seven stones. The Shofar-horn of the "Shofar- blower" is shown in one instance (6/02), the "Kanne" (pitcher) for a deceased Levite is on two stones; "Segnende Ha"nde" (hands conveying a blessing) for the graves of priests ("Kohenim") are not to be found in the cemetery. The headstone that is formed of red sandstone (1/01) is evidently older, based on its condition and decoration. A comparison with stones in other Jewish cemetery points to the first half of the 19th century. The tablets from 1891 onward were therefore a later addition. Translated by: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last Updated on Friday, 02 January 2009 08:18
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