The Jewish Community of Cuijk
In a corner of the cemetery Kouwenberg, two straight rows of gravestones with Hebrew texts are neatly standing in a row. The oldest stone is dated at 1810 and it memorizes a woman, Lea, widow of Yehuda Mozes. It is striking that the surname ‘van Meer’ is seen so frequently, but that is not so surprising, as the Jewish community in Cuijk was entirely dominated by and consisted mainly of members of this large family.
Apparently in 1761 the Jews from Cuijk had already a cemetery. Until about 1870 they buried their dead at a small, walled-in piece of ground of only 74 square meters, situated at the Smidstreet. As a result of the expanding community, it was desirable to buy a new graveyard, as the present, small cemetery did not have any space anymore and enlargement was impossible. In 1870 a new cemetery was laid out, situated at the corner of the Wilhelminastreet-Zwaanstreet. In 1924 the old cemetery was sold and the remains of the graves and the gravestones were transferred to the new cemetery. However, even this place would not be the last resting-place of so many Jews of Cuijk.
In about 1963, when there were no Jews in Cuijk anymore, their cemetery dating from 1870, formed an obstacle in the centre of the village because it did not fit into the town-planning. It was therefore decided to transfer all the graves to a separate part of the general cemetery Kouwenberg. Again the graves and the gravestones were transferred.
The report of the Permanent Commission of the Dutch Jewish Religious Community (N.I.K.) for the period 1963-1964 states, that the remains were transferred and buried again. This was the second time that the calm of the graves was disturbed. How many remains in the graves which did not have grave-signs anymore, stayed there scattered around? A few persons are ‘missing’, which means that they probably died in Cuijk, and if so, undoubtedly they must have been buried there, just like their relatives.
A recognizable grave, with a tombstone, does not exist for them anymore. But it cannot be established with absolute security, that these missing persons were actually buried at Cuijk.
Neither were there any tracks found of the Jews from Grave who were buried in Cuijk. In 1847 churchwarden Levy Mozes Nathan wrote, that till that year, the dead from Grave were buried in Cuijk, but as the cemetery was too small, no more burials could take place in the future. Later Jews from Cuijk were buried in Oss and Vierlingsbeek. On January 11, 1888 Mozes, the son of Rafael van Meer was the first one to be buried at the new cemetery in Oss.
In the separated part of the graveyard Kouwenberg stand eighteen gravestones. Only three gravestones from respectively 1880, 1895 and 1913 originated from the second cemetery.
There are many persons, mainly from the Van Meer family, who were born in Cuijk, and who lived there till their death. It is more than possible that they were buried at one of the successive Jewish cemeteries, where their parents and ancestors had found a resting-place before. Yet, no track can be found of their graves. That is not so surprising, as at the clearing of a graveyard, the remains of the graves, which did not have grave-signs anymore, stayed probably scattered around.
The Jewish Cemetery of Cuijk