The Jewish cemetery in Oświęcim (Dąbrowskiego Street) was established in the mid-18th century. The last recorded burial took place here in 1939. During World War II, the cemetery was badly devastated by Germans. What is more, vandals kept destroying the cemetery area between the years 1970 and 1980.
About one thousand tombstones, the oldest of which dates back from 1757, have been preserved in the cemetery which comprises an area of 1.7 hectares. The matzevot have inscriptions in Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and German. Some of the most devastated tombstones were gathered and placed on a common pedestal which performs the function of a memorial – a museum of stone monuemnts.
The Scharfs’ ohel deserves the most attention. The family’s most prominent member was Rabbi Mosze Jakob Jankiel Scharf. Asher Scharf from New York donated the ohel in the 1980s.
The cemetery area was cleaned and renovated in 1980. In the 1900s, at the initiative of the Nissenbaum Foundation, the light was installed in the rabbi’s ohel and running water with a tap at the cemetery entry was provided. In 2003, a group of students from various countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Poland) cleaned up the cemetery.
The cemetery belongs to the Jewish Religious Community in Bielsko-Biała.
The cemetery key can be obtained at the Jewish Center in Oświęcim