SLUBICE: Lubuskie Print

Coat of arms of Słubice

Alternate name: Frankfurter Dammvorstadt [Ger. 52°21' N 14°35' E , 70.9 miles W of Warszaw. This town in the Lubusz Voivodeship on the Oder river, directly opposite the city of Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany, of which it was a part until 1945 (as Dammvorstadt) with a 2008 population of 17,000 (agglomeration 25.000). Previously located in the Gorzów Wielkopolski Voivodeship (1975-1998), the town is currently the capital of Słubice powiat. The name Słubice is a modern Polish version of Zliwitz, a settlement east of the Oder River mentioned in Frankfurt's city charter in 1253. Normal 0 In 1945, Słubice still was part of Frankfurt on the Oder. Jewish presence dated from 1294, but was subject to restrictions. Jews were unable to acquire property, but rented homes. Economic competition with Christians resulted in many conflicts. In 1506, the local synagogue was burned. In 1510, four years later they were expelled from the city. 1671 saw a change in the status of Jews in Brandenburg, resulting in the rebirth of the Jewish community in Frankfurt. The local university was the first German university to accept the Jewish students, who came from all over Europe and even from Jerusalem to attend. 592 Jews in 1801 increased to 891 in 1880, but population then decreased due to WWI, economic distress, and immigration overseas to 669 in 1925, 586 in 1933, and 168 in 1939. Jews were subjected to repression and economic boycott as well as the arrest of a local rabbi, Ignaz Maybaum. At the outbreak of WII, some Jews were sent to the Lublin ghetto. Others in 1942 - 1943 were sent to Terezin. After liberation, the Frankfort Jewish community was reestablished was survivors from various places.

CEMETERY:  610 years-old in 2009 since the first documentation about it was in 1399 or 1294, Frankfort Jews set up their cemetery on the eastern embankment of the Oder River on the private land belonging to the Hokemann family. In some unknown circumstance, the town seized the Hokemann necessitating another legal action to change the ownership to the Jews. The new agreement in the archives states that Jews were allowed to bury their deceased on the Jewish hill opposite the berg upon payment of six good Czech groszen per Jew buried and this was to be respected. The letter was dated 1399 on the day of Saint Pressia and Martin. Some experts think the cemetery is even 100 years older than that date. East of central Słubice at the crossroads leading to Krosno, Odrzańskie and Rzepin, on a chain of hills 60 meters high, up to 1945, this area was called "Judenberge" (Jewish mountain). The cemetery had of three parts. The first used from 1399 (presumably much earlier) up to 1867 was relatively small compared with the final land area. Frequent banishments of Jews from the town meant that portion was unused at various times during its active period. A 60 cm wall of fieldstones ensured that all the gravestones could be seen from the outside without entering. Used more intensively from 1677 to 1866, the death registers of Frankfurt Jewish kahal show 1,100 entries. The register from 1862 shows the oldest gravestone came from the second half of the 17th century. Also, nine rabbis from 1693 to 1838 were buried in the first cemetery section. The majority of matzevot from the first part were 15 cm thick sandstone facing west with inscriptions often framed with Baroque ornamentation. Only a few had been photographed. From 1868, the second 10,907 sq m part of the cemetery was used. A house for the Christian cemetery gardener, the Billerbeck family from 1870-1945, was built on the border. In 1866, a new 2.5-meter cemetery wall was erected with a base of fieldstones. Long fragments of that base course were still visible in 2008. The wall ran across Crossener Chaussee (today's Transportowa Street) and in NW joined the lower fieldstone wall from the first part of the cemetery. In this new part, a new neo-Romanesque beit tahara was built with inlaid yellow clinkers and an 8.12-meter dome. A gold-plated, 13-meter tall Mogen David affixed on top of the roof was visible from a distance and became the first visual sign of Frankfurt (Oder) arriving from Krosno Odrzańskie. The gravestones in the second part differed from those in the first part. Mostly granite and marble, their shape closely resembled those in Christian cemeteries. Typical Hebrew ornamentation, symbols, and universal sepulchral art from the 19th and 20th century dominated. The third part of the cemetery purchased at the beginning of the 20th century was a garden designated for people whose death or life too impure for burial in consecrated ground, e.g. suicides. The balance of the third portion remained a garden. In 1936, the Association of Jewish Front Soldiers funded a monument for seventeen Jewish Frankfurt soldiers, who died during WWI, in the third part that was unveiled in Summer 1937. Visible from the road leading to Krosno, the memorial was intentional propaganda that escaped the Nazis. In 1940, the third part was used and surrounded by wire mesh fencing atop a low concrete foundation still visible and used for mass graves to bury dead Jewish prisoners from nearby labor camps such as 100+ victims of the Finkenheerd camp in 1941 and Jewish prisoners from Świeck and Kreuzsee labor camps. These burials lasted to the end of 1944. A Frankfurt internist, Dr. Hermann Marcus, who died December 11, 1944, was the last real Jewish burial in the cemetery with a gravestone and a funeral; the Nazis ordered him buried "anywhere on the road", but cemetery caretaker Billerbeck intervened secretly and saw he had a real burial. On February 15, 1944, an English bombing raid over Frankfurt (Oder) hit the cemetery. Graves were destroyed; and the northern side of the beit tahara collapsed the already damaged roof resulting from the Nazi removal of tin from the roof.. German fortifications in cemetery area also did their damage. From May to September 1945, at least 82 German soldiers and the members of Volkssturm were buried near the beit tahara. Thus, the war and anti-Semitism caused the loss of gravestones in all three parts. The new post-war border on the eastern part of Frankfurt on the right bank of the Oder River put the Jewish cemetery in Polish territory and neglect. By 1963, the cemetery looked completely neglected but not intentionally destroyed, thickets filling the road from the main entrance to the beit tahara ruins. The original cemetery landscaping ran wild until the 1970s. To prevent continued theft of the gravestones and digging "for the gold" in the graves, the authorities bricked up all the entrances to the cemetery, but the thievery continued as in most Polish cemeteries. In the 1970s, still gravestones remained. Some matzevot fragments even were found in the forest near the village of Urad. The authorities decided on June 20, 1972 to close the cemetery, executed in autumn 1976, turning the site into a hostel called "Zajazd Staropolski", called "the Deadman's Inn" by locals. Not even fragments of matzevot remain after 650 years of use. At the end of the 1990s, the building became privately owned. In 1988, the Nissenbaum Family Foundation fenced the larger part of this destroyed cemetery. Ten years later, on the 600th anniversary of the cemetery's first documentation, the town of Słubice erected a memorial from polished granite inscribed in three languages: Hebrew, Polish, and German. In 2001,"Zajazd Staropolski" was converted into a nightclub called "Eden", arousing the ire of Jews whom Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller visited in New York in 2002. The nightclub closed. In January 2004, by order of the Polish state, the town of Słubice bought the last part of the cemetery, the hotel, and the parking lot for one million zloty and returned the property to the Jewish community (Szczecin). The place of the graves of three of the most known rabbis buried in the cemetery were a fenced and an ohel built according to two original photos and preserved texts of epitaphs. (Rabbi von Podheiz, rabbi Theomin, and Rabbi Margolis) May 4, 2004 was the unveiling. The site is now a regular Chassidic pilgrimage site. photos. [July 2009]

US Commission No. POCE000359

Alternate German name: Frankfurt. The town is located at 52º22' 14º34' in GORZOW Wlkp. Cemetery: at the intersection of the roads to Rzepin and Zielonej Gora. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with no Jews.

  • Local: Urzad Miasta I Gminy w Slubicach and mgr. Wladyslaw Chrostowski, Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabtkow, 65-413 Gorzow Wlkp., ul. Jagielloniczyka 8, tel. 75-295.
  • Regional: Panstwowa Sluzba Ochrony Zabytkow Oddriat w Gorzowie Wlkp, mgr. Jwowa Drzewiecka. (address above)

The Progressive/ReformJewish cemetery was established in the beginning of the 19th century. Frankfurt a/Oder [Odra] also used this unlandmarked cemetery. The isolated suburban flat land has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with a broken masonry wall and no gate. The pre-WWII size was 2.55 ha; and the post-WWII cemetery size is about 2.35 ha, reduced by commercial /industrial development. No stones are visible. The municipality owns the property used for Jewish cemetery. Adjacent property is forest and commercial/industrial. Rarely, local residents visit. It was vandalized during WWII. No maintenance, care, or structures. Incompatible nearby development is a slight threat.

Henryk Grecki, 70-534 Szczecin, ul. Soltysia 3/13, tel. 377-41 completed survey on 14 Aug 1991 but did not visit the site.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2009 11:55