Let’s take a look inside the tomb, where the sarcophagi of Israel and his wife Leonie are located, both made of brown granite from the workshop of Antoni Urbanowski. There are inscriptions with biographical data according to the Jewish calendar. Interestingly, these sarcophagi are empty inside and the remains of the deceased were buried in the ground beneath the mausoleum according to Jewish tradition. However, Poznański was not a staunch conservative, when it came to burial rituals, as tradition dictated for women and men to rest separately in different parts of the cemetery.

Another aesthetic value of the interior is the mosaic decorating the dome of the tomb with an area of about 100 square metres, which consists of up to two million gold-plated glass pieces. It depicts four spreading palm trees with Bible verses containing the name Izrael. In the dome, there are four windows with decorative stripes that converge at the top of the arch, where there is a circle with a Star of David inside. The author of the mosaic is usually considered to be Antoni Salvati. Nevertheless, it is more likely that the design came from the Berlin workshop of Johann Odorico.

The Poznański Mausoleum is not the only monument to be found in the Jewish cemetery in Łódź. Just a short distance away we find the tomb of Markus Silberstein, another of the Łódź tycoons, Poznański’s peer and rival. His tomb resembles an ancient Greek building, and it is made of beautiful white Carrara marble.

In the cemetery, you should also see the beautiful red sandstone sarcophagus belonging to the industrialist Isaac Hertz. Another treat for the visitor to the cemetery is the relatively modest tomb of the Rosenblatt, where Szaja Rosenblatt, another of Łódź’s great industrialists who became famous for producing cheap fabrics of very low quality, rests. To this day, the inhabitants of Łódź use the expressions such as „szajowe“or „siajowe“ to refer to low-quality goods.

Although the ravages of time have inexorably taken their toll on many tombs, initiatives are regularly taken to restore these monuments. Visitors may also be surprised by the stones piled on the graves, which are part of Jewish burial traditions, which we will discuss in a future issue of our magazine.

In the meantime, the upcoming April congress of the Stone Industry Employers’ Union will take place in Stryków near Łódź, which will be a great opportunity to visit, among other things, the Jewish cemetery in Bracka Street and to see the above-mentioned sights in person.

Source: Kurier kamieniarski

Author: Jakub Zdańkowski | Published: 24 March 2019