Cemeteries of the Jews in Upper Silesia – a doubly excluded heritage.

On March 2nd at 5:00 PM, as part of the “Architectural Triad” series, there will be a lecture by Sławomir Pastuszka titled “Cemeteries of the Jews in Upper Silesia – a doubly excluded heritage.”

The history of Upper Silesia is inseparably connected with the presence of followers of the Jewish religion, whose fate shaped subsequent political changes and cultural currents. This community, still living in this area today, has left traces of its presence in almost every Upper Silesian town. One of these traces is the cemeteries, undoubtedly objects of utmost importance in the religious hierarchy, but also the most visible testimony of Jewish presence in these places today. During the lecture, we will examine individual cemeteries and reflect on why they have become part of the doubly excluded heritage after World War II.

Sławomir Pastuszka is a historian, Judaist, genealogist, teacher, and social activist. In 2009, he graduated from the 3rd High School in Pszczyna, and then pursued studies in History with a specialization in Jewish History and Culture at the Department of Judaic Studies at Jagiellonian University. In 2016, he graduated with honors from the Master’s program at the Institute of Judaic Studies at Jagiellonian University, defending his thesis entitled “Preserved Painted and Stucco Decorations of Synagogues in Poland” under the supervision of Dr. hab. Leszek Hońdo. In the same year, 2016, he began his doctoral studies at the Faculty of History at Jagiellonian University. On April 26, 2019, he opened his doctoral dissertation on the topic “The Jewish Cemetery in Pszczyna as a Cultural Phenomenon of Upper Silesian Jews” prepared under the supervision of Dr. hab. Leszek Hońdo.

Since 2005, he has been a voluntary caretaker of the Jewish cemetery in Pszczyna, a place that has been associated with his family for generations. It is worth mentioning that thanks to extensive cleaning and renovation work that he regularly carries out, the Pszczyna cemetery is one of the best-preserved cemeteries in Poland. His research work and social initiatives also encompass the remaining cemeteries in Upper Silesia.

He is the author of 9 books and over 150 articles. For his activities, he has received, among others, the Pszczyna Chosen One statuette – the Mayor of Pszczyna Award in the field of culture (2014), the Starosta of Pszczyna Award in the field of culture (2021), and in 2016, he was nominated for the prestigious POLIN Award presented by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Here is a link to familiarize yourself with the detailed biography and achievements of the Speaker: http://www.slawekpastuszka.pl