Bródno Jewish Cemetery Revisited

Bródno Jewish cemetery in Warsaw is an extraordinary place. There are intact cemeteries or there are destroyed cemeteries, where no or only a few remains of the former purpose are still visible. Bródno Jewish cemetery is the visibility of destruction.

Since last night I’m in Warsaw and my first walk was to Bródno cemetery today. Bródno cemetery survived the German occupation; it were the Communist post-war authorities who destroyed it. The grave stones were torn out and accumulated at a central point in order to give them away as construction material and to create a park on the territory of the cemetery. Today, this part of the cemetery is an ocean of stones. Nowhere I have seen anything like this.

I have been to Bródno cemetery about a year ago. Since my last visit the fence around the cemetery has been completed. Visitors need a permission now to enter and – of course – somebody who opens and closes the gate. Andrzej, who works for the Jewish community, was so kind to open the gate for me and also turned out to be a knowledgeable guide. Next to the gate two small buildings have been erected. The Jewish community hopes to open a museum already this summer there. It will document the history of the place. Documenting the place and teaching its lessons is obviously the only thing that can be done. Andrzej hopes, they will be able to photograph and translate the inscriptions on the tombstones in the future, to make them accessible in a database. A project that will take years to be accomplished. Bródno Jewish cemetery will remain a puzzle, nobody would be able to put together.

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2 thoughts on “Bródno Jewish Cemetery Revisited

  1. Chris: Thanks for sharing. I hope that the cemetery can be cleaned up and brought back to some semblance of respect for those who are resting there. One cannot believe how awful some people can be.

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