Beth Olem Cemetery

Beth Olem is a Jewish Cemetery located on the grounds of GM Poletown. Visitors are allowed twice per year for only a few hours.



“GATEWAYS AND WALLS CONTRIBUTED BY MR. & MRS. DAVID OPPENHEIM IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER BENJAMIN OPPENHEIM MOTHER JANEY OPPENHEIM BROTHER JACOB OPPENHEIM SISTER BETSY OPPENHEIM AND SON SIDNEY OPPENHEIM AND IN MEMORY OF HER FATHER JACOB ROSENTHAL AND MOTHER ADA-BASHA ROSENTHAL JULY 1935″

This headstone has washed out completely.

Porcelain portrait of Sadie Bratman. At least three other porcelain portraits were removed by vandals.

Hattie Sugar.

IN MEMORY OF CHARLES E. BENJAMIN
PERISHED IN AVELINE HOTEL FIRE AT FORT WAYNE IND.
MAY 3, 1908 AGE 22 YRS. 6 MOS.



Don’t forget to wash your hands.

16 thoughts on “Beth Olem Cemetery

  1. Thank you for the photos! I’ve always been intriqued by the fact there was a cemetary locted there. Every time I drive by there I am always looking to catch a glimse of where it could be.
    How did you find out when it was open?

  2. We called the desk at GM Poletown and they gave us the number for the property manager, Clover Hill Park Cemetery in Royal Oak. When we called two weeks ago, the director didn’t have any plans to open it on Palm Sunday as they had in the past, but he eventually agreed to open the gate from 10 a.m. until noon. About twelve people took the opportunity to visit.

    The cemetery is between the two entrances on Hamtramck Drive. From the road, it looks like a clump of trees between the railroad tracks and the main plant.

  3. I remembered reading an article last year about how it’s open directly before Rosh Hashanah and Passover so we made a note on our calendar. When paczki-day rolled around I made a mental note that Easter was 40 days away and did some research to figure out when passover would be observed.

    We made a number of phone calls and finally got word about when it would be open. I believe it’s also been referred to as the Smith Street Cemetery.

  4. Great photos, schutzman. You always get the shot that no one else thought to look for.

  5. thanks hillary.
    that’s why i make the big bucks.

    after going there, i feel like it’s akin to taking a trip to mars- a six month waiting period followed by a tiny, two-hour window of opportunity to get what information you can, while not knowing what to even expect to find, and then immediately having to climb into your rocket again and leave. Or, in our case, a Toyota Echo.

    regardless, I really hope that the photos we took might increase the interest and attendance next time it’s open.

  6. My husband and I have been to visit my great-grandmother, Lillian Rosner, at Beth Olem. While we live in Buffalo, New York, we count on this cemetery being open if we can grab the opportunity to visit. Clover Hill’s lack of interest was present when we last attended as well. Amazing how quickly such a hot-button topic for the Jews in 1981 has fallen into a white elephant these days. She is my great-grandmother. I would like the opportunity to pray over her grave without question or permission.

  7. We do our best to bother them for a visit a couple of times a year. Hopefully that will keep them in the habit of accommodating visitors.

  8. Can’t wait to see it myself, don’t stop bothering them! Is maintenance their concern?

  9. I have tried and tried and tried to get into Beth Olem Cemetery without any luck. I live in another city quite far away so it is hard for me to get there and when I do get there the lack of cooperation is maddening! The last time I was there was in 1981 with my mother when she was still alive and my two sons that are 27 years older. As I said I live a long ways away, I’m getting elderly and I’m not well so it is quite a sacrifice for me to even get up there to the site of the former Poletown in Hamtramck to Beth Olem Cemetery. I hope we can garner some interest for the next available visitation date and can get some cooperation from Clover Hill Park Cemetery. Maybe a proposal can be made that a cooperative volunteer docent be appointed with a phone number for people to call to arrange for a visitation appointment other than these two measly days a year. Anyway, that’s my two cents on this issue and topic!

  10. Great pictures. Thank you schutzman for walking us through the history lane. I knew about the cemetery’s existence but never really saw any pictures. And of course, thanks to Steven and Hillary for digging out detailed information on this.

    Some pictures on the tombstones are so clear;it is hard to imagine that they’ve survived the weather, WWI, WWII and still looks new, especially the 17 year old girl’s picture. I wonder if this one is original or was done later?

  11. PolishCanMan: The next time it is supposed to open is April 5, 2009. I always call to confirm twice before every visit, and sometimes that isn’t enough. Remind me this spring, and I’ll meet you there. I’m sure we won’t be alone.

  12. My great, great grandparents are buried here – Pinkus and Minna/Minnie (Mamie?) Fink. I would just love a photograph of their grave markers, if anyone visits anytime soon. I live in Los Angeles so it’s highly unlikely I’d be able to visit personally any time soon. I know there are a number of other Fink’s buried there according to FindAGrave.com, but have not yet figured out the relation.

    Please contact me if you are planning a visit. Thanks so much,
    ~Erin

    StreamerET@aol.com

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