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The Jewish Cemetery, Skwierzyna

Jews had lived in the town of Skwierzyna, in what is now western Poland since the 14th century. The location of Skwierzyna originally called Schwerin an der Warthe (Schwerin on the river Warta) along an important trade route was probably the primary attraction which encouraged many Jews and Germans to settle in the area around Skwierzyna. one of many gravestones carved with Jewish symbols and written in Hebrew

By the end of the 18th century Jews accounted for more than 30% of Skwierzyna's population, and the community one of the largest and most influential in the Poznan / Wielkopolskie region. Skwierzyna's Jewish population included a number of prominent people: Professor Gassel Simon ben Israel, Eliakim ha-Kohen Schwerin Goetz, David Mayer, and Jacob Cohn. Most of the Jewish community lived in the western part of the town where a synagogue and many other buildings were erected by the community.

Census records indicate that the Jewish population of Skwierzyna began to decrease at the end of the 19th century and by the 1936 only around 44 people registered themselves as Jewish on the census. The reasons for this decrease may be explained in part by migration to the larger nearby cities of Berlin and Poznan (Posen) where it would have been possible to live anonymously and where the economy was better. Others may have become assimilated into the wider German population or simply failed to register themselves as Jewish on the census forms. When Hitler took power in Germany, the remaining Jews were 'persuaded' to sell their properties at a low price to other residents of the town. As a result of this many Jews the town. Those that remained were killed in the holocaust. All that now remains in Skwierzyna to show that the town was once an important Jewish settlement is this sadly neglected Jewish cemetary.

the top of Jewish hill Skwierzyna The Jewish cemetery is situated on what is known as Jewish Hill (Judenberg). It covers an area of more than 2 hectares and contains several hundred graves and over 200 gravestones. The oldest visible tomb dates from 1747. Most of the stones are made from sandstone and include many carved symbols and inscriptions in both Hebrew and German. 
The area is fairly difficult to access as it is on a high hill with steep sides. It is now heavily wooded and some of the gravestones have either been removed or damaged. Nonetheless, as one of the best preserved and largest Jewish cemeteries in Poland, it is well worth a visit. It you'd like to be shown around the area by an English or German speaking guide, contact us.   Schwerin - photograph showing damage to some stones

Polish name: Skwierzyna

German name: Schwerin Warthe

Schwerin in old pictures (offsite link)

Other Jewish Cemeteries in Poland

Province : Lubuskie 

Nearest City: Gorzów Wlkp

Nearby Villages and Towns: Glebokie, Lagow, Lubniewice, Miedzyrzecz; Paradyz; Rokitno; Skwierzyna

Local Attractions: castle, museum, historic buildings, Miedzyrzecz fortifications and Nietoperek bat reserve

Related page: Picture Postcards from Auschwitz

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