This graveyard is a magical, mystic place. This is the world of the defunct and we, the living visitors, are intruders. That’s how it feels, almost unreal.
This is perhaps the place in Wrocław that most impressed me.
The Jewish cemetery is a relic of the German era of the city when the Jewish community was large and influential and counted many wealthy businesspeople and renowned scientists among their members. Most inscriptions are in German and of course Hebrew, very few in Polish language. It got through the Nazi era and the war remarkably little harmed. The Nazis half-heartedly smashed some tombstones but the majority remained intact.
Wealthy families had burial vaults and mausoleums in long rows along walls, some shaped like neoclassical temples, others in „oriental“ or even Egyptian style. Everything is overgrown by ivy and other plants, and shaded by trees. The stones are crumbling. Some paths lead through but everything in between is a jungle and unpassable.
Nature is free to do as it likes, since the Jewish culture knows no 'gardening' on graves as the Christians of Central Europe do. The Dead, once buried, are left in peace.
The tombs of a few prominent people like the politician Ferdinand Lassalle or the parents of Edith Stein are signposted, otherwise it is up to you to find your way and discover.
A knowledgeable local friend had originally offered to take me there, but we abandoned the plan because of rainy weather. So in the end I went by myself, and to be honest, I was glad that I did. The cemetery is best experienced alone and in silence. Discussions and explanations would have interfered with atmosphere and sentiments.
The Jewish cemetery is administered by the city museum nowadays, surrounded by walls and fences, and well kept. That means it is not only protected from vandalism, but also perfectly safe to roam all by yourself.
The graveyard will be even more impressive in autumn when the leaves are falling and timid sunrays search their way through the last bits of morning fog - but even on a sunny summer’s day it had an amazing flair and atmosphere.
Let the photos speak for themselves.
Getting there: Don’t try to walk from the city centre, it is quite far. Take tram 9 or 15 to „Uniwersytet Economyczny“, from there it is a walk of merely two minutes in southward direction on the right side of the main street.
Entrance fee: 10 PLN for adults. I do not remember how about concessions, but there certainly are some.