Cieszowa Jewish Cemetery
The first recorded information about Jews living in Cieszowa dates to the first half of the 18th century. At that time, it was one of the most populous Jewish communities in Śląsk, but, by the 19th century, the number of Jews in Cieszowa drastically decreased (45 in 1830 and 18 in 1855). After 1905 there were no Jews recorded as living in Cieszowa.
The cemetery is located approximately 1.1 km west of the town centre, and approximately 100 metres south of the road from Cieszowa to the village of Wierzbie. The cemetery covers a rectangular area measuring 0.33 hectares, on plot no. 126. According to Mark Brann, the cemetery was founded in the 17th century as exemplified by records which denote a cemetery tax in 1690 and a matzevah in 1650. Marcin Wodziński argues, however, that the cemetery was more likely established in the 18th century. The cemetery was in active use in the first decade of the 20th century. After the last Jews departed from Cieszowa, the cemetery fell under the purview of the local Catholic parish. At that time, the Committee of Kehillot of Rejencja Opolska sought funds to renovate the fence as well as for the families of those buried in the cemetery to establish future funding and maintenance. The cemetery survived World War II intact though, after 1945, it fell into disrepair.
In 1988 the area was not fenced and, “most of the tombstones were destroyed, 28 matzevot were left standing, 156 tombstones were destroyed. A part of the entrance gate survived.” In 2008, due to strong winds, the trees and tombstones were severely damaged. In recent years, the cemetery is maintained and renovated by local community activists, among other people and organizations. The cemetery houses around 130 tombstones made of sandstone stelae, the oldest of which dates to 1747 (a list available at https://sztetl.org.pl/pl/miejscowosci/c/421-cieszowa/115-pamiec-w-kamieniu/9793-cmentarz-zydowski-w-cieszowej). The area is enclosed with a new wooden fence as well as the original concrete and stone gate. The cemetery is listed in the registry of historical landmarks but is not part of the Immovable Monuments Registry.