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The Jewish cemetery in Katowice (16 Kozielska Street)

Jewish cemetery in Katowice (Kozielska 16 street) was built in 1868. Those who died before building it were burried on the Jewish cemetery in Mysłowice. In 1868, Jewish community from Katowice bought 3 morgues of land for the price of 480 thalers from Polish countryman Jozef Ludnowski. They intended to build there a cemetery.

A territory for a cemetery was on the West from the road to Mikołów (German: Nikolai) and was separated from the town by a railway line leading to Mysłowice. A fact of choosing this area is interesting, because people thought that the town would not be developing in that direction. It was thought that the railway line was its final border, which would force the town expansionin the North and North-East direction, that is the region where Catholic and Evangelical churches, steelworks and mines were built [1.1].

A ceremony of the cemetery consecration took place on 9 September 1868 with the participation of a rabbi dr. Rosenthal from Bytom.The first burrial on the new cemetery was on 20 October 1869, when there was a funeral of a four-year-old boy – Carl Münzer. The first funeral of the adult person was on 2 February 1870. That was a funeral of a material administrator Meyer Katz.

In 1868, a splendid mortuary was build near the cemetery. There were Chawra Kadisza rooms and a mournig room. The building was thoroughly rebuilded and expanded in 1870.

The Krebs family was responsible for keeping the cemetery in good condition. They also led the graves records [1.2]. A lot of funerals took place with a participation of the Great Synagogue choir.

In 1870, on the cemetery, the asphalted pavement of the alleys was built. In 1927, and also after the end of the World War II, the cemetery was expanded to finally reach the size of 1,1 ha.

During the World War II, Nazis partially devastated the cemetery.

Nowadays, on the separated with the wall cemetery, on the surface of 1,1 ha, about 1 400 – 1 500 graves are preserved. There are, among others, splendid graves of three generations of the eminent Jewish families of merit for Katowice development: Goldsteins, Schalsches, Grünfelds, Glasers, Sklareks czy Panofskis and a Jacob Cohn's grave – the rabbi of Katowice municipality. Some graves are sumptuously decorated. Some of them have the architectonic form which refers to Roman buildings.

Inside the cemetery part, built in 20th century, a monument was exhibited, which commemorates the Jewish victims of the Holocaust [1.3].

In the recent years, the cemetery is being renovated. It is opened from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. (on Fridays to 3 p.m.). The cemetery is closed on Sabbath and Jewish holidays.

If the lich gate is closed, its key is in the secretariat of Majs' company – Kozielska 14 street, the gate near to the cemetery, the entry phone is on the building, the first floor (telephone number:32 251 10 22).

The Or-Chaim Foundation takes care of the cemetery. Its president is Jarosław Banyś. Since June 2009, the cemetery territory is monitored by nine cameras, supported by the system reacting for the reflector movement.  The picture from the cameras gets directly to the Or-Chaim Foundation residence and to the Center of the Rescue Notification, which in need can send imediately a patrol of the municipal police or the police.

In autumn 2009, Or-Chaim Foundation finished the main stage of renovation and reparation of the building, which until war was the residence of the funeral association. These works included: changing a roof, plasters, ceiling and floors, protecting the building against cold, doing horizontal and vertical insulation, changing windows and doors. From autumn 2010, renovated former tachara room will function as a specialist Jewish library of the Or-Chaim Foundation, and in the adjacent building there will be a specialist stone workshop. There are plans to lead educational classes in that building. The funeral room will keep its functional purpose.

In 2010 the Or-Chaim Foundation will lead project works to reconstruct the oldest mortuary from 1869, where the foundation plans to open the Jewish museum which will commemorate the history of the Silesian Jews and Jewish rites. It will be a multimedial center with cultural and educational functions.

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[1.1] http://gu.us.edu.pl/node/258851 [stan na 31 I 2010 r.].

[1.2] D. Buchstein (Krotman), Chosen to be in Charge of a Holy Place [w:] Katowits: Perihatah ve-shekiyatah…, s. 53–54.

[1.3] Za: http://www.kirkuty.xip.pl/katowice.htm [stan na 29.01.2009].

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50.2556° N / 19.0078° E
50°15'20" N / 19°00'28" E
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