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2013-01-03

The Jewish cemetery in Mysłowice calls for help!

Mysłowice town office, the Jewish Religious Community in Katowice, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage (FODŻ) and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews are addressing an open letter which was written by Małgorzata Płoszaj, a Śląsk Judaica researcher and a co-operator of the Virtual Shtetl portal last Wednesday after her visit in the Jewish cemetery in Mysłowice. She writes: ‘I have seen many ruined cemeteries but I was shocked by what I have just seen in the Mysłowice graveyard. The cemetery is used by the locals as a dump fill, a place for drinking sprees and a place where you can dispose of all kinds of objects which the locals do not need anymore. I cannot find any explanation for such behavior of the local population, nor can I justify institutions which neighbor the cemetery, on which they regularly dumped leaves over the past years. There are also piles of leaves discarded by an adjacent senior high school. Heaps made of leaves cover tombstones of former Myslowice residents near the cemetery fence. Is this situation not a shame for the town? How can the locals explain themselves?’.

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Dariusz Walerjański from the Śląsk branch office of the Society for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and a volunteer caretaker of the Jewish cemetery in Zabrze can hardly contain his indignation as well: ‘This cemetery is one of the most neglected and desolate cemeteries which has been ruined by time and people. Twenty years ago it looked completely different. I talked this matter over with the Provincial Monuments’ Restorer to influence the Local Monuments’ Restorer. It is not only the case of the lack of interest of the local authorities and of Mysłowice cultural institutions. Unfortunately, no one, not even a teacher or a pensioner, is willing to take care of the graveyard, which raises the question about respect for the deceased Mysłowice residents who rest there. They were all former citizens of this city, where they lived and worked. They treated Mysłowice as their hometown, a little homeland. I ask, where is respect for the history, memory, heritage and human remnants buried here?’.

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What is the future of the cemetery? Will the local authorities, Jewish organizations and the locals eventually do something to take care of the cemetery? Let us hope that the situation will change soon.

By K. Bielawski

English translation by WJ.

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