Cemeteries are very special places. They bring reflection and thought about the time passing away. Histories kept there are related to thing that are slowly vanishing from our lives – the cultural diversity of Pomerania region.
The real monument of those, who used to be a very important part of our society is a Jewish Cemetery is Sopot. It is situated at Malczewskiego Street. Th oldest tomb there is engraved 1920. At the beginning of XX c. the Jewish community in Sopot was big that could afford to build the synagogue and the cemetery. Extermination of Jewish people came here as well.
A little group of survivors took care of this place till late 60’s. Later the cemetery was forgotten. In 80’s there were renovation work organised there and this is one of the place that reminds the cultural diversity of Pomerania now.
Among cemeteries in Gdynia, Oksywski one is important, once described as the most beautifully located cemetery in Poland due to its wonderful sea view, unfortunately now hidden by the trees. The architectural and historical pearl here is a gothic church of Michael Archangel. It is the oldest church in Gdynia and one of the oldest in the region. In that cemetery there is a grave if of Pomeranian activist Bernard Chrznowski and the Kashubian folk writer, called the “Kashubian King”, Antoni Abraham.
Talking about Gdansk necropolis We cannot forget about Srebrzysko in Wrzeszcz which after the WWII was the main Gdansk cemetery. It was established in 20ies XX c. It is beautifully situated on the hills of the Tricity Nature Park. There are many important people buried here, related to the city and the region: famous Kashubian activist and a writer Lech Bądkowski, Pomeranian writer and the journalist Izabella Trojanowska , a doctor Zdzisław Kietrurakis, opposition activist Dariusz Kobzdej, a politician Arkadiusz Rybiski, the work leader from communist times Stanisław Sołdek or a Solidarity activist Anna Walentynowicz.
Gdansk also decided to commemorate, in a very special way, those who were buried in cemeteries which do not exist anymore. The Cemetery of Non-existent Cemeteries was opened in 2002 in a park next to Gradowa Hill and the Holy Christ Body church.
Nearby there is also a Military Cemetery, which covers the former 3 cemeteries: one, situated at the higher part of the Historical Military Cemetery, organised at the end of 90ies XIX c. from the Dąbrowskiego Street, second, the hospital cemetery, next to the evangelical church of the Holy Christ Body (the Roman catholic now) and the third, small part of neogothic Free Religion Cemetery organised at the beginning of XX c. There is an old neogothic wooded burial chapel from 1896 there, renovated in 90ies last century and built in a similar style house of a gravedigger.
Another, very interesting place is a Mennonite Cemetery in Stogi. Who were the Mennonites and how important they were very few remembers now. They came to us from the Netherlands, as the first anabaptists. It is part of Catholics. Mennonites believe You can be baptised not earlier but when You are 14 years old. Other characteristic believes for them is: it I is forbidden for them to have a gun, swearing to anything and working is high, important office levels.
They lived in Low Lands, in Pomerania. They were very hardworking. They built river dykes, and ditches and meliorated the land, preparing it for very sophisticated farming methods. It was the who prepared swampy land of delta of the Wistula River for agriculture. The last Mennonites left the land in1945 due to the Red Army approach. Thanks to ich hard work we call Low Land today – Little Holland. What they left behind are very well maintained villages and very interesting and mysterious cemeteries, including the one in Stogi.
Who could guess that in Pomerania we can find graves from Austrian- Hungarian army? That very interesting history of our region we can find in a small cemetery in Tczew. The prisoners of the Prussian war camp are buried there. Those are the Chechs, the Poles, the Hungarians, the Austrians and the Ukrainians. Those soldiers who were kept in the camp during the Prussian – Austrian war died because of cholera epidemic which lasted from July 1st till September 1866.
The cemetery would be forgotten if not Franz Windrich. He was one of the prisoners of that camp. He survived and when he returned to Austria he decided to collect money to preserve those graves. The faith of this cemetery was unknown several times. After the WWII no one remembered this place any more. Nevertheless, in 1994 it was renovated. In the central part of the cemetery there is a stone with the inscription. It is the saying of the emperor Francis Josef in Latin – “Viribus Unitis!” (“Joined Forces”) and the bronze plaque showing two headed eagle, the coat of arms od Habsburg Monarchy.
It is worth visiting this place during November 1st celebrations and Autumn walks. They recall how interesting and diverse Pomeranian history is. They remember the people, who lived and died here.