Within Bonaventure Cemetery lies a large section designated to those of Jewish descent (sections P, Q and S on the map found here). Savannah’s Jewish population has roots that date back to the mid-1700s, when 42 “brave pioneering Jews” landed in Savannah and established reform synagogue Mickve Israel.
One of the most sobering sites within this beautiful place is the grave marker for 344 Holocaust victims. The Bonaventure Historical Society says this about the grave:
In 1950, Felix and Manie Budek arranged to have the ashes of Schmul Szcerkowski, Manie’s father and World War II Holocaust victim, sent to the United States from a Nazi labor camp at Alem Hanover, Germany. Following a funeral service conducted by the Agudis Achim Conservative Congregation of Savannah, the ashes of Mr. Szcerkowski and 343 others from the camp were buried in lot 415 of Section Q, adjacent to the Jewish burial chapel.
You’ll notice the stones placed on and around the grave. As part of Jewish custom, visitors place a stone on the grave, even if it belongs to someone they don’t know. The stones are used in place of flowers because unlike flowers, stones never die. The stones represent the permanent position of the deceased within someone’s memory.
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