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Coat of arms of Szczecinalso see Gryfino. Alternate names: Szczecin [Pol], Stettin [Ger], Štětín [Cz], Stetinum [Lat], Sztetëno. 53°25' N, 14°35' E, in W Pomerania, NW Poland, on the Baltic Sea. The seventh-largest city in Poland; the largest seaport in Poland. 1900 Jewish population: 3,001. This capital city of West Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland is the country's seventh-largest city and the largest seaport in Poland on the Baltic Sea. 2007 population was 407,811. Szczecin is located on the Oder River, south of the Lagoon of Szczecin and the Bay of Pomerania along the SW shore of Dąbie Lake on both sides of Oder and on several large islands between western and eastern branch of the river. Szczecin borders with town of Police, seat of the Police County, situated at an estuary of the Oder River. [July 2009]

 

OLD CEMETERY: Only one Jewish family lived in Szczecin until1812 with no Jewish cemetery. They buried their dead in Gryfin (Greifenhagen), 20 km away. On September 1, 1818 the Prussian Minister of Local Affairs ordered every Jewish citizen provide a burial place for himself and his family. The Szczecin Community had purchased land for this purpose in 1816 between the streets Bethanienstraße (today's Ojca Beyzyma St.), Henriettenstraße (today's M. Gorki St.) and Lamprechtstraße (today's J. Soplicy St). The kahal began thus with only 18 members. The cemetery, at first 0.17 ha, later was enlarged with a 0.7-ha piece purchased for 400 thalers and again in 1871, 1891, and finally in 1917, with 0.38 ha of land was bought from the Pomerania Industrial Association (German Pommerscher Industrie-Verein). The final size was about 2 ha. A paved path beginning from Kreckower Straße (now Adam Mickiewicz St.) led to the cemetery. An additional entrance was opened on the side of Bethanienstraße. The beit tahara erected in 1900 was burned during Kristallnacht and then pulled down at the end of 1939. Between the wars, the extension of Treitschkestraße (nowadays Leszczynski St.) was built very nearby. The cemetery itself did suffer any major damage during Kristallnacht except for the beit tahara or following. At that time, the Jewish cemetery in the town center at the intersection of Ks. Piotr Skarga St. and Leszczyński St covered 10-ha [?] and was surrounded by a fence. Then, well-kept, with many green areas and sections. Thujas (a coniferous cypress) were planted along each alley. In the center of the cemetery was the beit tahara, below ground and covered with a square, a place for praying and for speeches. Next to the square was the cemetery's office, destroyed and looted. The oldest gravestones was from 1820 and the last from 1942. The mostly marble, polished granite and basalt gravestones with inscriptions in German except in one block with inscriptions in Hebrew and German inscriptions on the back. Another section from WWI had gravestones set in a semi-circle on a square with thujas and spruce. Not far from the cemetery office was the Kessling family plot in the eastern part of the cemetery at the entrance where wealthier families were buried in marble and polished granite monuments. When the Soviets were stationed in Szczecin, the Nazis were forced to keep order in the cemetery. When the Polish Government took over after WWII, nobody cared. In July 1946 the Polish town authorities returned the cemetery to the newly formed Polish-Jewish Community without permission to bury their dead there. They were to use the municipal cemetery located in Ku Słońcu St. Regularly violating, the town had to renew the order in 1948. The issue of the cemetery remained unresolved until the 1960s when the town's department of municipal economy began to close the cemetery on the basis of the 1959 law . It was officially closed on July 17th, 1962 and four years later the cemetery's area diminished. The Jewish Community, however, received no cemetery in exchange. The issue forgotten for some time, was reactivated by the funeral of one of the most famous personalities of the community, Dr. Adam Asnes. He died on May 20, 1962. His wife and friends turned to the First Secretary of the District Committee of PZPR (Polish United Workers Party) Antoni Walaszek, who at first gave them the permission to bury him at the already closed Jewish cemetery, which he then withdrew after consulting with the minister of municipal economy. Asnes's wife decided to bury her husband illegally. Thus, the last funeral took place there. Over time, anonymous hooligans more and more often destroyed the cemetery. The authorities even considered removing it completely, leaving only a small lapidarium with the gravestones found in one corner. The remaining part of the necropolis was supposed to be used for recreation. In 1977, the authorities issued an order although the cemetery's fence and area were well-kept, but the gravestones neglected. In September 1982 a debate was held between town authorities and religious representatives. They reached the conclusion that bodies from graves added during the previous 20 years should be exhumed and transferred to the Jewish sector of the municipal cemetery, whereas the old gravestones, after being inventories and after their value was estimated by the monument conservator, were to be stocked in a place chosen by the town's authorities. A park was created on the old cemetery with a commemorative obelisk in the middle surrounded by flowerbeds with a plaque in Polish and Yiddish. The cost of exhumation, monument, and land development was supposed to be covered from the sale of gravestones. In November, the gravestones were taken to a warehouse at 39 Harcerzy St. Part of them was sold; many can be found in different places in town, used for construction, road paving, sandbox fencing, etc. In November 1988, a monument designed by Zbigniew Abrahamowicz with 11 gravestones, commemorating the existence of the Old Jewish cemetery in Szczecin had been consecrated with two plaques, one in Polish and the other in Hebrew saying: "A Jewish Cemetery was located here from 1821 to 1962". The inscriptions on five of the 11 gravestones are still legible. Today, the big stone surrounded by flowerbeds is there. In the 1990s, the devastation and profanation of the necropolis started and became a destination for drinking and fights all the more ironic because the city authorities had promoted it. They destroyed a rare cultural monument and created a social problem. [July 2009]

NEW CEMETERY: In 1962 the Jewish community asked for a fenced area with a separate entrance to establish a new cemetery. The authorities refused so Jewish dead were buried in a selected part of the municipal cemetery in Ku Sloncu Street, the second block left from the third entrance. The 0.25 ha has signs in Polish and Yiddish. 100+ gravestones are there, all in good condition. From the 20th century on and made of marble, granite, sandstone and other materials, some with metal fences. Double gravestones and family mausoleums exist. Inscriptions are in Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish and German. The oldest gravestone comes from 1962. The Jewish section is registered in the Monument Registry of the Province Monument Conservator in Szczecin, well-kept and still active. photos . [July 2009]

SZCZECIN (I):     US Commission No. POCE00208

Alternate German name: Stettin. The town is located in Szczecin region at 53°22 14°30. Cemetery: Cmentarz Centralny, ul. Ku Sloncu 125, Kwatera nr 62 WM [Cmentarz Centralny, Haupt Friedhof.] Present town population is over 100,000 with 10-100 Jews.

  • Local: Prezydent Jan Cz. Bielecki, 70-456 Szczecin, tel. 24-53-00; 22-52-32; 22-45-43; 22-53-02 Szczecin and Urzad Miejski Szczecin, ul. Armii Krajowej nr 1 70-456 Szczecin; tel. 22-52-32 and 22-53-02 Szczecin.
  • Regional: mgr. Ewa Stanecka, Wojewodzki Konserwator Zabytkow, ul. Usnierska nr 20, 70-536 Szczecin; tel. 34-804 Szczecin. Panstwowa Sluzba Ochrony Zabytkow, ul. Kusnierska nr 20, Szczecin, tel. 34-804.
  • The cemetery caretaker is Zarzad Zieleni Miejskiej, ul. Ku Sloncu 125, Szczecin.

The earliest known Jewish community dates from 1848. The pre-WWII Jewish population was about 19,000-26,000. In 1962, the Jewish section at the Central Cemetery was marked out. The oldest stone dates from 1962. The last known Jewish burial was 1990. Landmark: "Wpisany do rejestru zabutkow Wojewodzkiego Konserwatora Zabytkow w Szczecinie: Decyzja nr KL.III.5340/10/85 z dnia 15.06.1985 roku; nr rejestru: 1066." The urban flat land, part of a municipal cemetery, has sign or plaque in Polish and Yiddish mentioning Jews. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall, fence, but [?] with a locking gate and non-locking gate [?-both marked]. The present cemetery size is 0.25ha. 20 to 100 stones are in original location with none broken or toppled. [Stones were moved to another cemetery. See Szczecin II] The 20th century marble, granite, sandstone and 'other' rough stones/boulders, flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, double tombstones, or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and/or German inscriptions. Some have metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to pogrom victims. There are no known mass graves. The local Jewish community and the municipality own the property used only for Jewish cemetery. The adjacent property to the cemetery is commercial/industrial and residential. Frequently, organized Jewish groups, individual tours, private visitors, and local residents visit. It was vandalized occasionally. Local/municipal authorities re-erected stones, cleaned stones, and cleared vegetation. The government pays the regular caretaker. There is a pre-burial house with a catafalque. Security, weather erosion, and pollution are slight threats. Vandalism is a moderate threat.

Dr. Alojzy Kowalczyk, ul. Moniuszki 4/B, 73-110 Stargard: tel. 73-44-40 completed survey on 18 October 1991 using Weckowicz, Kr., 1984 Cmentarz Centralny; dokumentacja podstawowa; Metryka Cmentarza, Szczecin. Other documentation exists but "is too general". He visited the cemetery on 10 October 1991 and may have more information.

SZCZECIN (II):     US Commission No. POCE000209

Cemetery: ul. Beyzyma, J. Soplicy, M. Gorkiego. The unlandmarked cemetery was established between 1850 and 1856 with last known burial around 1944. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all with no wall, fence, or gate. The pre-WWII cemetery size was about 0.33 ha. The current size is "0.33/0.00 ha." The boundaries are unclear. No stones are visible in original location. 1 to 20 gravestones were put together to form one monument, an obelisk in the cemetery corner. Part of the removed stones is at the Central Cemetery, 125 Ku Stoncu Street, Szczecin. The major part was sold for building the low walls or were crushed. The oldest gravestone in the cemetery dates from 1869. The 19th and 20th century granite, limestone, or sandstone flat shaped stones or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew and/or German inscriptions. Some have metal fences around graves. There are no known mass graves. The municipality owns the property used for recreation. Adjacent property is recreational, commercial/industrial, and residential. Frequently, organized Jewish groups, individual tours, private visitors, and local residents stop. It was vandalized during WWII and occasionally since. Local/municipal authorities and regional/national authorities patched broken stones and cleared vegetation in 1961-62. Care now is occasional clearing or cleaning by authorities. The government pays the regular caretaker. Within the limits of the cemetery are no structures. Security, weather erosion, pollution, and vegetation are slight threats. Vandalism, and incompatible nearby development, existing or planned, is a moderate threat.

Dr. Alojzy Kowalczyk, ul. Moniuszki 4/B, 73-110 Stargard: tel. 73-44-40 completed survey on 17 October 1991 using "Karta Cmentarza 1989 r. ul. Beyzyma-Gorkiego, Szczecin." He visited the cemetery on 10 October 1991 and conducted interviews.

In the Jewish section of the large cemetery, all graves appear to be post-World War II. There is small Holocaust monument in town composed of about 30 Jewish tombstones. Source: Henry Birnbrey: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Source: They Lived Among Us: Polish Judaica, a travel brochure: Arline Sachs, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Source: Gruber, Ruth Ellen. Jewish Heritage Travel A Guide to East-Central Europe. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992. p. 26

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 12:44
 
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