The history of Jews in Lublin traces back to the 14th century. They were awarded an autonomous district, established a renowned Yeshiva and later became the center for Hassidism (very abridged history). Sadly, no Jews reside in Lublin today (there is rumor that perhaps 8-12 still are alive, but we could not locate anyone to confirm this) This cemetery houses the thousands who lived in this vibrant, flourishing community; yet what pains one's heart is to see the condition in which this cemetery is as compared to other tended cemeteries in Europe (where the population is alive to care for the graves). If one had visited this site a few years ago, he/she would've been surrounded by even more weeds, trees, bushes etc. Recent efforts have made this cemetery more accessible. And the fact that the gates must be locked to keep the vagrants, vandals, anti-Semites and even greedy tourists (I have seen people taking pieces of broken stones and placing them in their pockets as a keepsake-- for shame!) from defiling what is left. Please note that they would like to keep the gates open, however there is no one to guard the site from harm (they do not have the funds). There is another Jewish cemetery as well, the New Jewish cemetery, which too is locked (our group spend several hours cleaning the back of the site, and we needed a few more days to make it as lovely as other cemeteries throughout Europe-- Last two photos). Nevertheless, this is an important place to visit. And if one takes the time to crawl through the woods, he/she will find fallen and broken stones (those which the Nazis did not take to make roads) from a thriving people of centuries past. Imagine what the culture/people could have been had the Nazis and their collaborators not destroyed it!
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