In most of Austria and Germany the Nazis have destroyed all synagogues. Not so in Prague. It has a few of them, some still operative, all tourist attractions. I can’t remember which one it is, that is at the center of the old Jewish cemetery, but when you’re there you can’t fail it.
It’s always the same, regardless of being among hordes of tourists (like in Prague) or being almost alone (like in the extensive Jewish section of the central cemetery in Vienna): the feeling is always one of age and neglect.
In our own cemetries, the space is expensive and most graves are given up once the last paying relative has ceased to do so. Then the grave is sold to someone else. The result is, that almost no graves are neglected. It’s simply too expensive.
Those Jewish cemeteries are different. Nobody has been buried there since before WWII. Most of them have been vandalized by the Nazis. Much damage has been done and nobody was allowed to rapair it during the war. Most of the time nobody was left to care after the war. Other buildings would probably have been torn down or replaced, but those cemeteries, while not fulfilling their original purpose, are monuments.
When I’ve been in the Jewish section in Vienna for the first time, it was basically a jungle. Since then the city and private organizations have done a lot to cut back the growth, to clear the original paths and in many cases even to restore the graves. To a certain degreee this can be done. You can re-erect fallen stones, you can restore the inscriptions on a few graves of prominent citizens, but you don’t even want to restore everything. It’s a monument of a monstrous destruction after all. Taking away all the traces would help nobody and it would only cover the past. Thus most of the graves are left in this spooky, unnatural condition.
And that’s exactly what it looks like.