About the time you see this, I will be on a plane headed back to the UK. With Worms just up the road, it seems kind of logical that there have been Jews in Heidelberg for a significant number of years. I can’t tell how old the cemetery is; the oldest markers are impossible to read. Then there is the fact that many families buried here no longer have surviving relatives to tend their graves leaving some areas gradually falling steadily into disrepair. However, it is obvious that some families still have a presence here, as well as others who have settled in the area since the Wall came down.
The Jewish Portion of the Alten Friedhof (Old City Cemetery) is gated with a plaque on the wall commemorating all those who were deported through 1943 (after which there weren’t any acknowledged Jews in this area of Germany), wherever they might be buried. As you will see, that was not enough for several families who have added to their family graves the acknowledgment of those missing.
Since I was not interested in contacting the local Gemeinde for entrance, I simply walked around the gated area and walked up the hill. Scattered grouping of tomb stones grace the side of the hill, sheltered by tree, grass, ground cover, and moss undisturbed. It is quiet and cold with the sunshine just starting warm the earth as I was leaving.
From old graves to new ones awaiting the first Yahrzeit for placement of a stone, there is a variety of styles, ages, complexity spanning more than 200 years. The wording is simple, usually no more than name and dates with the occasional notation only if someone was born or died else where. The names are also changing from strictly “traditional found in Germany” to Russian, Eastern European. Unusual, there are flowers in some areas, and only pebbles on those graves from the last decade.
Two graves marked those who gave their lives fighting for Germany in the first World War.
The last plaque I noticed on my way out; honoring those who gave their lives for the Resistance.