The Jewish cemetery in Szlichtyngowa is the only such cemetery among a dozen or so existing ones in the Śląski Region (Silesia) and Wielkopolski Region (Greater Poland) borderland before the Second World War. It was established in the 18th century. It is situated in a forest, 1 km to the north-western side of the town, in the area which belongs to the village of Górczyna, by the road from Głogów to Wschowa. The location of the cemetery is not simple. After leaving the town one should turn left towards the residential district of one-family houses Puszcza and reach the forest line. The necropolis is located approximately 100 m from the road.

The cemetery occupies 0.18 ha and has a rectangular shape similar to a square. It is entirely surrounded by a stone wall, approx. 1.5 m high. From the south-eastern side, there is an access gate which is open inwards. [see pictures No. 3, 4, 5] Currently, in the area of the cemetery, there are no elements of spatial planning. Also borders of individual quarters faced away.

The oldest gravestone dating from 1751 belongs to Rachela, Dawid’s daughter, while the latest one, dating from 1923, is Rosa Goldstein’s. The last burial in the cemetery took place in 1934, but the gravestone, like many others, did not survive.[1.1] The cemetery has 35 freestanding stelas, and fragments of others. In 1990s, the 19th century matzevot were brought to the area of the cemetery from Wschowa. All plates are made of sandstone and have a typical shape of lengthened rectangles. Part of them is crowned with a semi-circular pediment. The matzevot have Hebrew and German inscriptions. A few of them are decorated with typical ornamentation. [see pictures No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]

After 1945, the cemetery underwent permanent devastation. In the 1960s the matzevot still occupied the whole cemetery. The ones made of granite and marble were taken away. The authorities planned to liquidate the cemetery. The decision on liquidation was taken at a meeting held by the National Council of the County in Wschowa on 27 April 1972 (resolution No. 60/53/72).[1.1.1] Most probably the location of the cemetery and the related high costs of liquidation protected the necropolis. The systematically robbed and damaged cemetery survived until the end of the 1980s[1.2], when the then curator of the Judaic museum in Leszno, Dariusz Czwojdrak, decided to rescue it. Among others, Wawrzyniec Kopczyński helped him in the undertaking. It was mainly them who held back the degradation of the cemetery and reconstructed it gradually. [see picture No. 17] Thanks to their efforts, as well as its convenient location, the cemetery in Szlichtyngowa has been preserved in its crucial part and is one of few remains after the Jews in the old Polish and German borderland. In 1989 the cemetery was entered in the register of historic building and places under No. 1156/A.

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Footnotes
  • [1.1] State Archives in Zielona Góra, Decisions on liquidation or opening a cemetery; 1970-1973, sygn. 89/374/O/3484.
  • [1.1.1] State Archives in Zielona Góra, Decisions on liquidation or opening a cemetery; 1970-1973, sygn. 89/374/O/3484.
  • [1.2] The author’s interview with D. Czwojdrak, January 2009.