Sunday, November 14, 2010

A solemn visit to the Jewish Cemetery, Trebon

The weekend of Oct. 10-11, we made two trips to visit and photograph the Jewish Cemetery in Trebon. A few weeks earlier we had seen the former Jewish Synagogue in Trebon (see Sept. posting about the fishing opener) which is a few building away from the gates to Rosenberg Castle. It is now a residence.

We made a trek out to the Jewish Cemetery located in the woods outside of the city of Trebon. Our colleague Jan directed us to its location on the map. We headed out there on Saturday after enjoying the Roenberg Fish Harvest. It was late in the afternoon; the long rays of the sun shown brightly through trees of the forest as we drove down a quiet dirt road to the cemetery.

The leaves silently were falling from the trees, after the last frost, a gentle rain of tears that tugged upon us as we slowly, quietly started to absorb the horrors that we saw.  Here, the building next to the cemetery had once been razed during the Nazi occupation. The walls had been painted over, but now the Hebrew above the door is once again visible:
and a new roof graces the building.

The walls of the cemetery were still the original ones; the gate invited us to look inside.

The gate, however, was securely locked. It is still the original gate with the Rosenberg Rose emblem on it. Here, Mark and Lynn soak up the emotional entrance.

Upon looking inside, one can barely encompass the horrors that happened here during the Nazi occupation. All of the grave stones were gone; completely destroyed (pulverized) in Hitler's attempt to obliterate the Jews.  Some new stones have been added in the front rows of graves by donations from around the world. There is also a monument (all new) in the center of the cemetery. But all of the stones in the back were gone and not replaced, for some reason.

The moving visit breathed a poem that welled up inside of Neil...

In Coming Here
Reflections on visiting the Jewish Cemetery,
Trebon, Czech Republic
10-11 Oct. 2010

Neil O. Anderson

Softly turn car tires as we descend from pavement
to gravel tracks:
edginess colored, muted with newly fallen yellow
maple, basswood.
Leaves embed our stop at forest edge
now, then.

Here strong, tall brick run walls around the dead.
Could we,
in living,
what happened here?
A silent biker passes down the road,
‘round the cornerstone,
we view
a once table, cart
bent now
beneath the weight of leaves.

Rusted hasp and lock of gate
stop us:
fall of headstones,
hammered, pulverized erasure
of those
then and now.
How can it be that we,
in love outstretched
bend of falling leaves?

Gently green the moss
fill cracks of mortar, hatred, brick, unrest.
Lay our hearts within the gates
so we,
beneath the leaves,
may keep the here, now
a part of them.

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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