Jewish Cemeteries in Piedmont
Visiting cemeteries doesn’t only mean Prague, the of Venice or Ferrara, where the serenity and the splendor of these ancient sites unite centuries of history with the stories of individuals. Piedmont is also rich with suggestive Jewish cemeteries which merit a visit.
As Primo Levi wrote in 1985 in the introduction of the beautiful volume. “The Jewish Community of Venice and its antique cemetery” (Il Polifilo, Milan 2000), in Jewish Cemeteries “ mourning or at least the sense of mourning does not predominate. Mourning is that recent struggle and stringent pain of loss of a family member, or a person who is dear, or who one knew, whose image, habits and voice are still fresh in our memory Here mourning is remote, swept away by centuries: the prevailing sensation is one of peace, of eternal rest that all rituals promise to the deceased…. To all is extended the green cloak of vines, images of the imply life, which is oblivious to memory.
The Cemeteries of Piedmont constitute an enormous source of information on the history of the Jews who through the centuries settled in nineteen urban centers. Among the Jewish symbols such as the hands of the Cohanim extended in benediction, the pitchers of the Levits , bunches of grapes, dears, lions, eagles, and doves one can recognize, through the inscriptions on the grave stones, or from a simple glance over this oasis of peace, a slice of history and life that no longer exist yet will continue through eternity
(*) Excerpt from the publication, “Sixteen Synagogues in Piedmont”, “In the Ghetto’s of Piedmont, ” and “Cemeteries in Piedmont” prepared by the Jewish Community of Turin. The Jewish Community of Casale Monferrato and of Vercelli, with test by Mariacristina Colli e Claudia De Benedetti.