Brzeg Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Opole Voivodeship
Site address
Adjacent to 49, Księdza Makarskiego Street.
GPS coordinates
50.8463943, 17.458595
Perimeter length
276 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery area is fenced with a wire mesh fence (2.3m high) in good condition.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The Jewish cemetery of Brzeg is situated in the south-western outskirts of the town. The cemetery area is overgrown with ivy and trees, however it is maintained, fenced and protected. The cemetery is adjacent to the complex of The Roman Catholic Parish of Divine Mercy. The northern part of the cemetery area has been demolished and overbuilt with the church recreational area. Many tombstones have been preserved.
Number of existing gravestones
170. There are 173 intact standing matzevot along with many fragments of tombstones. The tombstones are in a good condition, the inscriptions in Hebrew and German are visible and legible.
Date of oldest tombstone
1817/8 (photo by ESJF)
Date of newest tombstone
1882 (photo by ESJF)
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Brzeg was established in 1248. The first mentions of Jewish settlement date back to the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries. Jewish residents were forced twice to vacate the city, the first in 1453 and again in 1582. They later returned to Brzeg in 1650. An autonomous kehilla was founded in 1660. In 1782, there were 140 Jewish residents in the city, comprising 3% of the total population. In 1910, they comprised only 0,9% of the total population. On April 1st 1933, there were anti-Jewish boycotts. On the Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht), November 9-10 1938, the synagogue was burned down. During the Second World War, all Jewish residents were transported to the ghettos in the General Government.

The Jewish cemetery in Brzeg is located approximately 2.2 km southwest of the city center. To the northeast, it shares a border with the Roman Catholic church and cemetery. It has an acreage of 0.5 hectares. The documents dedicating the area for a cemetery were signed in 1798, but the transaction was only finalized in 1863. The first burial took place in 1801. During the Second World War, the Jewish Association of Germany was forced to sell the cemetery area back to the city. The last burial took place in 1937.

Today, approximately 150 matzevot have been preserved (vertical stelae and obelisks); most date back to the second half of the 19th century. The oldest surviving tombstone dates back to 1806 and memorializes Zanwil, son of Meir from Grodków. Most of the tombstones are made of sandstone. Their decorations and inscriptions have been preserved both in Hebrew and German.
The cemetery’s borders are visible and correlate to those from 1939. The entrance gate faces the road and is open to the public.

On December 28th, 1989, the cemetery was added to the Register of Historical Landmarks under the designation 235/89.