Wolin Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish cemetery in Wolin was established in the 19th century. The first Jewish families did not settle in Wolin until the first half of the 19th century. They came from the cities of Pomerania (including Węgorzyno, Resko and Gryfice), as well as from West Prussia and Berlin. In the middle of the century, about 90 people of Jewish origin lived in the city, and thirty years later (1880) – 141. During the nineteenth century, about 100 Jews, mainly children and infants, died. It can be assumed that initially they were not buried in the Wolin cemetery, but rather the nearby Jewish cemeteries in Kamień Pomorski and Bogusławie near Stepnica were used. After some time, the community, including the Jewish inhabitants of the nearby Międzyzdroje and several villages neighbouring Wolin, became too large and had to establish its own cemetery. It was placed at a considerable distance from the town’s buildings, on the slope of Srebrne Wzgórze, near the Dziwna canal. It occupied about 0.1 ha and belonged to the so-called “poor” – there were no buildings accompanying him. At the turn of the 20th century, Wolin was inhabited by less than 100 followers of Judaism. In the following years, this number decreased to 69 people in 1913, 25 in 1930 and 20 in 1939. The community struggled to cope with the costs of maintaining the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery. As a result, the synagogue was sold to private individuals and transformed into a residential building. The cemetery was still used until the outbreak of World War II, during which it was heavily damaged, and after the war, forgotten, it fell into further ruin. However, one can still see the remains of the cemetery wall and individual matzevot. Currently, the cemetery is threatened with liquidation, as the mayor of Wolin announced in the spring of 2013 his intention to create recreational areas in the area that also included the Jewish necropolis.
(The literature contains very divergent information about the time when the Wolin Jewish cemetery was founded. In the catalogue of monuments of the Wolin commune, the cemetery dates back to around 1860, and the Virtual Shtetl portal provides the year 1818, unfortunately without providing the source of this information.)
(West Pomeranian Encyclopedia; http://encyklopedia.szczecin.pl)
It is known that the Jewish cemetery in Wolin existed from 1818 (although other sources say that it was established between 1880 and 1890). Previously, those who died from the commune were buried in the nearby cemeteries in Kamień Pomorski (Cammin) and in Bogusławie near Stepnica (Birkenwalde bei Stepenitz). The Jewish cemetery with an area of approximately 0.12 ha is not marked on modern maps, and maps drawn up in 1938 were burned. However, on the basis of information obtained in 1999, it was possible to reconstruct the location of the cemetery. It was to be located on a hill called Srebrne Wzgórze (Silberberg) in the northern part of the city, near the railway line, between the extension of Fliess-Straße (formerly Neue Straße, today near Prosta Street) and the Dziwna River (Dievenow). So it was far away from the city centre. The last burial took place there in 1939 or 1944, and even before 1945, the cemetery was surrounded by a solid fence with a closed gate. However, during the war, the cemetery was seriously damaged. The area has remained undeveloped to this day and is located behind a small grove. It is used by the local population as a waste disposal site, and the surrounding land is intended for agricultural purposes. In 1989, there were still three matzevot in the cemetery, one of which was intact, with Hebrew inscriptions (according to other sources from 1991, up to 40 stone, granite or sandstone tombstones could be found in the cemetery, including many damaged and located in places other than originally, with inscriptions in Hebrew and German). The oldest matzevah dates back to 1922. After 1945, excavations were undertaken in the vicinity of Srebrne Wzgórze in order to investigate the origins of the history of Wolin and the Slavic settlement in this area. There is a photo taken in 1989, which documented the former cemetery seen from a distance of 1150 m. This photo was taken from the tower of St. Nicholas’ Church.
The object underwent extensive destruction. In the 1992 cemetery card, in the heading “General state of preservation”, the following was written: “The area was leveled, matzevot were removed, possibly a change of boundaries and a change of use (meadow)”; as the existing threats, the progressive devastation of the tombstones and a fragment of the wall was indicated. It was recommended that the remaining matzevot be transported to the Central Cemetery in Szczecin. The cemetery card mentions an account of one of the inhabitants, according to which, until the 1950s, there were “rich” matzevot made of granite in the cemetery.
Currently, in the cemetery there is a remnant of a sandstone stele dated 1869, a few concrete tombstones and relics of the wall. The area is unfenced and overgrown with unmanaged vegetation.
(K. Bielawski, cmentarze-zydowskie.pl)