The Jewish cemetery in Chorzów was established in 1862, soon after the local Jewish community was set up. The cemetery was located on the south end of the town, outside the built-up area, at Ziegelerstrasse (later Zietenstrasse, today’s

Krzywa St

.).

A comparison of maps from 1890-1941 shows that the cemetery area was enlarged to ultimately reach ca. 8,000 square meters[[ref:|Skoczek R., Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice
, 2012, p. 396.]]. Before the outbreak of World War II, the cemetery occupied a long rectangular plot. The entrance was located at

18 Krzywa St.

, and the cemetery nearly reached today’s

J. Kilińskiego St.

(former Schemmstrasse). A funeral home, built in 1898, was located at the gate[[ref:|Skoczek R., Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 395.]].

There is no detailed information about the condition of the cemetery during World War II and soon after its end. According to Renata Skoczek of the
Chorzów Museum, the cemetery “survived the World War II period”[[ref:|Skoczek R., “Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 396.]]. In 1949, the Organizational Committee of the Jewish Religious Congregation announced plans to tidy up the cemetery[[ref:|Urban K., Cmentarze żydowskie, synagogi i domy modlitwy w Polsce w latach 1944-1966 (Jewish Cemeteries, Synagogues and Houses of Prayer in Poland in 1944-1966),
Krakow, 2006, p. 221.]]. Until 1949, a Jewish family lived in the funeral home.

After the war ended, the cemetery continued to serve its main function. In 1945-1954, 24 burials probably took place there, but the exact number is unknown[[ref:|Skoczek R., Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 396.]].

In 1958, the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Chorzów passed a resolution on closing down the cemetery. The decision was approved by the Ministry of Municipal Economy. In 1959, the County Court in Chorzów transferred the ownership of the cemetery plot from the Israeli Religious Community to the State Treasury[[ref:|Skoczek R., Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 396.]].

The funeral home, abandoned in 1949 and subsequently partly damaged, was pulled down in 1964. Despite occasional attempts to secure the cemetery (such as fixing a gate), its destruction gradually continued. Gravestones were stolen or sold upon approval by the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Chorzów [[ref:|Skoczek R., Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 396.]].

In subsequent years, the town authorities tried to liquidate the cemetery as they wanted to use the land for construction purposes (for building a school and a kindergarten). On 25 May 1972, the Presidium of the Municipal National Council in Chorzów issued a decision on the liquidation of the cemetery. Between 15 February and 3 March 1973, remains of 32 deceased were exhumed and reburied in a Jewish cemetery in
Bytom. Then the remains of the gravestones were removed – about 400 tons of rubble were transported to a storage yard in Składowa St. The land plot was tidied up and bulldozed, and a park was established on the site (named
Chestnut Tree Park in 2006). The plans to build a school and a kindergarten on the site of the liquidated cemetery were not carried out[[ref:|Skoczek R., “Cmentarz żydowski w Chorzowie. Okoliczności związane z jego likwidacją (The Jewish Cemetery in Chorzów. The Circumstances Surrounding its Liquidation)”, [in:] Żydzi na Górnym Śląsku w XIX i XX wieku (Jews in Upper Silesia in the 19th and 20th Centuries), Kalinowska-Wójcik B., Keller D. (eds), Rybnik
Katowice, 2012, p. 403.]].

On 25 October 2006, a monument designed by Gerard Grzywaczyk was unveiled at the edge of the park. The monument consists of two granite slabs whose shape resembles matzevot closed with a semicircular arch. An inscription has been engraved on them: “El Male Rachamim [Hebrew for God Full of Mercy]. God bless... To commemorate the Jewish community of Chorzów. City inhabitants, 2006.”

No gravestone has survived until today in the former cemetery. The area is not fenced, with remains of a brick wall still visible. The borders of the burial site are unclear. Residential houses are located in its immediate vicinity. The symbolic monument reminds visitors of Chorzów Jews, but there is no board informing that it is the site of a Jewish cemetery.

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