Świdwin Jewish Cemetery
Preserved historical elements: about 70 matzevot, fragments of ohels, numerous tombstone bases and tombstone covers, a fence wall and old trees – mainly linden trees in lanes. Clear alley and quarters layout. Contemporary informational or commemorative elements:
There is a stone with a plaque informing about the existence of the cemetery and plaques informing about the historic building. The current number of the register of monuments with the date of the first entry: 1216 from 05.12.1989 (WKZ Koszalin).
The Jewish cemetery in Świdwin was founded probably in the second half of the 18th century, because in 1787 a Jewish gravedigger is listed in the town records, although at that time only a few Jewish families lived in the town. The necropolis was established a few kilometers south-west of the city, at Polchleper Weg (now Dobra Rycerskie Street) at the foot of a hill called Judenberg (Żydowska Góra). It occupied an area of about 0.5 ha and was square in shape. It was relatively large compared to most Jewish cemeteries in Western Pomerania, since the Jewish community in Świdwin was one of the most numerous. In 1871, 315 Jews lived in Świdwin, in 1905 there were 217, and twenty years later, 166. In 1940, no Jews were recorded in the city.
Like practically all Jewish cemeteries in German held lands in current-day Poland, this cemetery was devastated during Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938). It was also devastated at the end of World War II. Even in the 21st century, there were cases of vandalism and destruction of matzevot. In 2001, members of the parish of the Pentecostal church in Świdwin undertook the cleaning and tidying of the Jewish cemetery, where several dozen tombstones are still preserved, the oldest of which dates back to 1857, and the Engel family mausoleum from 1913. The matzevot are made of sandstone, granite, as well as artificial stone and cement, and are inscribed in Hebrew and German. The latest one is from 1938.
(West Pomeranian Encyclopedia; http://encyklopedia.szczecin.pl)
The Jewish cemetery in Świdwin is located about 2.1 km south-west of the city centre, on a hill known as the Jewish Hill, about 40 meters north-west of ul. Dobra Rycerskie, within the geodesic plot No. 321601_1.0016.3, with an area of approximately 0.41 ha.
The date of establishment is unknown. According to various sources, the cemetery was established in the second half of the 19th century.
The object underwent extensive destruction. In recent decades, the tombstones were vandalised. Within the cemetery there are several dozen tombstones (mainly steles and obelisks) in various conditions. The area is covered with deciduous trees (small-leaved linden, European ash, English oaks). The borders are legible thanks to the relics of the stone wall and the layout of the quarters and alleys is also visible.
Since 2001, cleaning works have been carried out at the cemetery, including by pastor Adam Ciućka, Zbigniew Czajkowski, members of the Pentecostal Church from Świdwin and Hameln. On September 25, 2001, a commemorative plaque was officially unveiled. The ceremony was attended by, among others: Rabbi Michael Schudrich, Fr. Michał Czajkowski, bishop of the Piła diocese of the Pentecostal Church Dawid Kulinicz, mayor Andrzej Rauflajsz and Jews living in Świdwin before the war – Gisela Miessner and Heinz Wandelt.
(K. Bielawski, cmentarze-zydowskie.pl)
The Jewish cemetery in Świdwin was established probably in the 1770s or 1880s, which can be inferred from the fact that the community employed its own gravedigger at that time. It was built about 3 km from the city, at Polchleper Weg (today Dobra Rycerskie Street), leading to Drawsko Pomorskie. It is known that the cemetery also served Jews living in Sławobórz, 6 km away; in total, up to 500 people were buried here. The area is approximately 0.41 ha. The cemetery is located on the so-called Żydowskie Wzgórze (Judenberg), near Lake Bukowiec (Buchholtzer See).
Like the synagogue, the cemetery was destroyed during Kristallnacht (1938), and the devastation continued in later years. All the matzevot were overturned and smashed.
In 1988, more than 60 matzevot in relatively good condition could be found in the cemetery; the total number of tombstones could reach up to 300. The provincial conservator of monuments in Koszalin then ordered the numbering and taking of professional photographs of the better-preserved tombstones. The oldest one was dated 1897, the others were dated from the 20th century. Many matzevot were covered with inscriptions in German on one side and Hebrew on the other. Even in 1993, there were fragments of marble tombstones here; now only sandstone remains. During the restoration works, an entry in the register of monuments was made, dated December 5, 1989.
In 2000, the cemetery was tidied up by Polish and German youth. Other tombstones from 1869–1927 were discovered then; this enabled the indexation of the book Zur Erinnerung und zum Gedenken (pp. 1060–1061), which was then published in the fourth volume of Gerhard Salinger’s book. The originator of the initiative to restore the former appearance of the cemetery were the pastor of the Pentecostal Church, Adam Ciućka and Zbigniew Czajkowski, and the work was attended by members of the local Pentecostal Church and their colleagues from Hameln, Germany. Heinz Wandelt, a former resident of Świdwin, also came from Germany. Local entrepreneurs also aided this project. A commemorative plaque with an inscription in Polish and Hebrew was unveiled.
In 2009, as a result of regulatory proceedings, the cemetery became the property of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage.
Today, it is still one of the best-preserved Jewish cemeteries in Western Pomerania.