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Coat of arms of Opole NOTE: This is not Opole Lubelskie]

Alternate names: Opole [Pol], Oppeln [Ger], Opoli [Cz], Oppein. 50°40' N, 17°57' E, historical capital of Upper Silesia (Oberschlesien).  In Poland today, but  in Germany before WWII (called 'Oppeln'). 1900 Jewish population:  718. This city andcapital of Opolskie województwo in SW Poland on the Oder River began as the home of the Slavic Opolanie tribe; the earliest documentation of it was in the 9th century. In 1202 it became the capital of the Opole principality that included the entire Upper Silesia, but passed to Bohemia (1327), the Habsburgs (16th century), Prussia (1742) and back to Poland in 1945. On February 15, 1941 and February 26, 1941, deportation transports took 2,003 Jewish men, women and children from Vienna Aspang Station to Opole. By March 1941, 8,000 Jews were deported to that ghetto. From May 1941, 800 of the men became forced laborers in Deblin. Liquidation of ghetto began in spring 1942. A transport to Belzec eft on March 31, 1942 while deportations to Sobibor followed in May and October 1942. Of the 2,003 Viennese Jews brought here, twenty-eight survived. [June 2009]



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Sources confirm Jews living in Opole in the Middle Ages in 1396, 1451, 1533, 1557 and 1564. Jews expelled from Opole in 1565, they did not return until the 1741, one Jewish family with 20 forty years later, 34 in 1787, and 48 in 1812. Consent to establish the cemetery was issued in 1816 when 98 Jews lived there). Construction of the synagogue waited 20 more years when in 1825, 200 Jews represented 3.5% of the total) and 329 in 1837 (4.8%). Opened in 1842 at current ul. Szpitalnej 2, now the building is Domu Ksi??ki. Abraham Geiger, liberal rabbi of Wroclaw, was invited to its dedication. In 1822 the Jewish elementary school began. The Jewish population increased with 484 in 1846 (6.2% of the total) and in 1864, 664 (6.3%) that led to extension of the Jewish community in Opole for Krapkowice, Pruszkow and forty surrounding villages. The Jewish population had an extremely large impact on the economy. Marcus Friedlaender, who in 1824 paved the way for the famous brewery "Castle". For over thirty years, he was a member of the Jewish kahal and in 1868 became a member of the City Council of Opole (n 1875 its chairman), and in 1888 was given the title of "senior of city of Opole.". In addition to the brewery, other distilleries belonged to the Jews  Heymann Pringsheim, Noah Danzinger (brewery on today's Jozef Pilsudski Square) and Joseph Boronów (located on the current island Pasieka). In addition to brewing, the Jews were prominent in the cement and tobacco industries. Jews were prominent merchants and professionals. In 1885, the 647 Jews (4.8%), but population declined afterward with 712 in 1890 (3.7% of the total), 969 in 1900 (2.3%) and 552 in 1910 (1.6 %). Despite this, the synagogue was built in 1895-1897 guided by Henry Felix with the dedication on June 22, 1897 under Rabbi Leo Baeck. Temporarily, in WWII and briefly thereafter, the Jewish population rose to 1,000 in 1922, but immigration to Palestine reduced their number to 430 by 1928. "Kristallnacht" in 1938 subjected the Jews to acts of vandalism, violent physical attacks, and arrests for purportedly burning the new synagogue. Rabbi Hans Hirschberg was forced to pour gasoline inside it for the arson. The synagogue survived and today houses a printer. The Jews of Opole and the surrounding area not able to escape the Nazis were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in the Czech Republic and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942-1943.

CEMETERY: Located at the corner of Granicznej and Waleckiej. Before opening their own cemetery, Opole Jews buried their dead in Bia?ej Prudnicki. Opole Jews received permission from the magistrates to establish their own cemetery on July 3, 1816. In 1817, a farm was purchased from Joseph Kurpiersa about 2.5 km from the borders of the city in the village of Nowa Wie? Królewska. Legally established in 1822, the first burial occurred before the official opening of the cemetery when in autumn 1821 Gimpel Pozner was interred. Initially, the cemetery area was approximately 0.12 hectares or the "headquarters I". This area quickly filled up so in 1866 an additional 0.4375 hectare of land was purchased from a farmer; 1,080 sq m became Section II. In the 1870s in the eastern part of the cemetery a preburial house with a small residential building was built for the caretaker. About 1900, the balance of the land annexed in March 1866 was set up. The first section tombs date from the beginning of the twentieth century. In the 1930s, the fence north side was redone with a concrete wall with ornamental sandstone. After the completion, the Jewish community in Wroclaw hired a caretaker and in 1947 renovated the tahara. However, after the death of the caretaker in 1957, the cemetery buildings and cemetery suffered. The last burial took place in 1960. In 1963, the cemetery was officially closed. In 1969, the buildings were demolished with a private house, workshop and sales outlet for shrubs and trees taking their place. Attempts to save the cemetery between 1976-1977, the city swapped the south and west wall giving the west wall a new gate, and partly cleaned the site at its own expense. In 2005, Polish, German, and Israeli youth in a joint initiative removed the bushes covering gravestones. Buildings on all sides surround the cemetery, three residential and a manufacturing plant. According to state, the cemetery held 778 graves or their parts in 1898. The baroque grave of Max Frielander (d 1897) and his wife Lina née Sachs (d. 1927) was distinctive until June 2005 when a vandal destroyed it. Traditional gravestones with Hebrew inscriptions are in Section 1. Gravestones in Sections 2 and 3 deviate from Jewish tradition shapes and have German/Hebrew inscriptions or German only illustrating the continuing assimilation of the Jewish community. White marble, gray and black granite, and some black basalt are the materials used here. 20th century gravestones are mostly artificial materials. Nearby is a large production hall on the southern wall and the private home barely meters from the eastern side matzevot diminish the cemetery from what it was. Photos.  [June 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000529

Alternate name: Oppeln in German. Opole is in Opolskie province, 50ş40N 17ş56E, 84km from Wroclaw. The cemetery is located on Poniatowskiego Street [ESR Note: This apparently is incorrect]. Present town population is 100,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Urzad Miejski, 14 Piastowska Street.
  • Local: Wojengozki Konserwator Zabytkow, mgr. J.Prusienicz, 45-082 Opole, ul Piastowska 14.

The earliest known Jewish community was 1396. Before World War II, 607 Jews included Emin Pasza. The Progressive-Reform Jewish cemetery was established 3 July 1816 with last known Jewish burial 1960. The cemetery is listed as landmark No.223/89. The isolated, suburban flat land is located on a public road with a sign in the local language and a municipal sign. A continuous masonry wall with gate gives access to all. The size of the cemetery before WWII was.5 ha and is now.348 ha. 500 and 5000 stones, 100-500 in original locations with 50%-75% toppled or broken, date from 19th & 20th centuries. The limestone and sandstone finely smoothed and inscribed; flat with carved relief decoration; double stones or sculpted monuments have Hebrew, Polish and German inscriptions. Some stones have traces of painting on their surfaces. The local Jewish population owns cemetery. Although adjacent property is commercial, the site is used as a Jewish cemetery only. Approximately 0.5 hectare before WW II, the cemetery is presently 0.398 hectare, reduced in part because of commercial development. Rarely, private persons visit. It has been vandalized occasionally. Local authorities repaired the wall and gate in 1976-77. The cemetery is not cared for now. No structures. Vegetation is a problem restricting access. Moderate threats to the site involve security, weather erosion and pollution.
Marcin Wodzinski, ul. Jednosci Naroddowej 187/13 Wroclaw, tel.216908 completed survey 16 March 1992. Documentation: H.Z.Labeccy, xcmentarz zydowski w opolu. Studium Konserwatirskie (mpis) Opole 1987. Other documentation was too old. The site was not visited.
OPOLE: {10878}

Alternate name: Oppeln, Kreis Oppeln. A resident of Opole who I met in 1989 led me to my family's cemetery and gave me the list of the burials. Opole is located about 40 miles north of Auschwitz and Krakow. It used to be Upper Silesia, Germany (along the Oder River). It is not in great condition like most Polish Jewish cemeteries, but it's better than most. Fenced and walled, one needs a key to get in (in 1989). It was spared during the terrible flooding in July 1997 when lots of Opole was ruined. The most famous person buried there is the honorable Rabbi Wiener. Source: " This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it d",  [date: after July 1997]

Last Updated on Sunday, 21 June 2009 20:42
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