The dead line up in rows, dowsed by flowers and accompanied on the long journey into nothing by lamps, a few lit, the long-dead lacking flower or lamp. They lie in floral avenues, fighting against annihilation with gleaming marble, crosses, seats for those that grieve. They are remembered: the flowers attest to that, and so do women, gloved, with dustpan brush, sweeping leaves away and scrubbing gravestones.
But the monuments that draw my eyes are not the ones that shriek “Remember” but thinner ones of metal, or stone that looks like wood: occasionally a grave split open, or a mere few bits of masonry, inscriptions worn a way by time.
Amongst those million dead, occasional glimpses through all the grand routines of death of real people: a headstone teddy bear; a cross of lined-up chestnuts; a humble cross of branches, white and black.
Along these avenues, a million dead. In no great cataclysm just the normal ends of life: disease, old age or accident.
Bródno cemetery, one of the largest in Europe. Covers 113.3 hectares. Contains 1.2 million graves. Consecrated in 1874. For some years cemetery for the poor. During World War II used as an arsenal by various Polish resistance organizations, and as a hiding place by those on the run from the Gestapo. Badly damaged by the Germans.