When I learned there was a jewish cemetery in Wroclaw (formerly Breslau in Prussia ) that was kept untouched and overrun by vegetation as a museum since the war , I thought I had to go see it .
First time I discovered a central european cemetery with jewish graves was in Chernovtsy , in Ukraine , then the Soviet Union . I was travelling with friends in a rented black Volga M24 and we had stopped near a long wall with a breach in it in the suburb . I had peered the treasure through the hole and suggested a look . Inside , it was a maze of all kind of graves , jewish , german , old russian and ukrainian, soviet graves with red stars... all of that in a dense and wild vegetation as if forgotten for years . Had time to take a few pics , but on the other side of the road was another long wall : A military facility , and while I was looking at the graves , guards had come to the car and asked my friends to leave immediately .This short first experience left me a deep impression that I kept in memory when I decided to visit the Wroclaw cemetery . As you wander in the alleys , every detail , names or things written on the tombstones make you think to the 30's and 40's around here .
Graves are sometimes in poor shape , having suffered from heavy fighting and bombing between the advancing soviets and the germans . Shrapnel scars dot many tombstones , sometimes it looks like bullet impacts sprayed all over . Many are in pieces . Some were real monuments , big size , with roof or partial roof , columns , marble , showing the wealth of local families .
Dates engraved show in absentia also the deportation and massive deaths elsewhere , and also emigration .
Most of the last burials , as attested by the dates , are in 1931 , 1933, 1935 . I saw one for 1941 .But mostly none after 1935 .
Some of the family monuments are backed to the high walls of the cemetery . A part of the cemetery is dedicated to children , with their small graves and the short time span between birth & death dates .