Unique Place of Jewish Heritage in Warsaw

In Hebrew, a cemetery is called a “house of eternity”. The Jewish cementary in Warsaw Okopowa Street was established in 1806 on the initiative of the Jewish community. It is one of the largest Jewish cementaries in Europe and still in use. There are 85,000 artistic gravestones in different shapes and forms, with inscriptions in Hebrew, Polish, Russian and German and a variety of ornaments and symbols, surrounded by old trees. All together, it creates a peaceful and reflective atmosphere on 33,5 hectare. Every season gives another impression of the graveyard.

The variations of tombs and gravestones show how diverse the Jewish community was: Spiritual, political and cultural leaders are buried here, including Marek Edelman who was the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Ludwik Zamenhof who created the artificial language “Esperanto”. On the cemetary is a mass grave of nameless victims who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. The cemetary was a part of the Ghetto. Before the war, the cemetary was named “cemetery on Gęsia” and included a funeral house and a synagogue. The oldest tombstone is from 1809.

According to the cemetary’s website, conservation works take place every year where you can join as a volunteer. Here you can see the impressions of my visit:

The symbol of a giving hand indicates that the buried person has been a philantrophist.

The inventor’s tombstone of Lazaro Ludoviko Zamenhof who invented the universal language Esperanto. I took this picture when I first visited the cemetary in autumn 2021.

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