General Motors, home to the Corvette, the Camaro, the Cadillac — and a Jewish cemetery?
According to , nearly 1,100 souls can claim a resting place in a 2.2 acre plot of land, surrounded on all sides by General Motors Co.’s Detroit Hamtramck Plant.
Beth Olem Cemetery has been around for roughly 155 years, and was actively used by the Jewish community of Detroit from 1860 until the late 1940s.
Though public access to the cemetery is limited — to maintain GM security — an exception is made for Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover as well as special family requests.
Susan Brodsky recently visited the cemetery after finding out through an elderly cousin that her great-great grandfather had been laid to rest there in 1909.
Per the Associated Press:
“He said it was in the Cadillac plant,” said Susan Brodsky, standing next to the headstone that read “Cantor” in English and the rest in Yiddish. “At first, I’m sitting there going like, ‘Where? Where? What is he talking about?’ Then I started Googling ‘old Jewish cemeteries in Detroit’ and it was pretty obvious. … This was it.”
Shaarey Zedek’s Clover Hill Park Cemetery,located in suburban Detroit, is responsible for Beth Olem’s maintenance and upkeep, though GM has access in case of emergencies.
For pictures of the unusual cemetery, head over to The New York Daily News.
Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.
There's a Jewish Cemetery Hidden Inside a GM Plant