Old Jewish Cemetery, Wrocław

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Cemetery gate
Hands motif

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław is located in the southeast part of Wrocław (formerly known as Breslau), Poland, currently along Ślężna street. The first burial took place on 17 November 1856 which back then was a village of Gabitz. The current shape of the cemetery evolved mostly during 19th century, during the German period of the city. The cemetery area was expanded twice. In 1943 the burial ceremonies were abandoned and the necropoly was leased for five years to a gardening center. During World War II, the cemetery became a fierce battleground, the marks of which are still visible on many tombstones. After 1945 it slowly turned into ruins. It was put on the list of the city's monuments in 1975.


Most of the cemetery objects were built in second half of 19th century. They imitate various architectural styles including Ancient, the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque. Great example of Ancient architecture are numerous columns located throughout the cemetery that are symbols of life and eternity. Columns imitating broken trees reflect the tragedy of fragile life and death. Tombstones are signed by bilingual inscriptions, most commonly German and Jewish.[1]

Most common symbols of Jewish culture which can be seen on tombstones are:

  • hands - on the tombstones of descendants of Aaron
  • oriental tree - ancient symbol of messianic hope
  • broken rose - motif of death
  • helmet - army officer symbol
  • palms - symbols of national sacrifice of Jews [1]

Renowned people buried at the cemetery[edit]

Antisemitic Incident[edit]

On July 30, 2010, the Jewish cemetery in Wrocław was desecrated with swastikas drawings and vulgar graffiti. In addition, some of the gravestones were broken.[2]

Picture gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Łagiewski, Maciej. Stary Cmentarz Żydowski we Wrocławiu. Via Nova. 
  2. ^ "Poland - Jewish cemetery desecrated". CFCA. CFCA. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 

Coordinates: 51°05′13″N 17°01′30″E / 51.08694°N 17.02500°E / 51.08694; 17.02500