... Melrose's Jewish cemetery
The Netherlands Cemetery Association and Roxbury Mutual Society Burial Ground is located on Linwood Ave, Melrose, MA, about ten miles north of Boston.
In 1859, a group of Dutch Jews living in the greater Boston area, formed a fraternal organization, the Netherlands Cemetery Association. They opened Netherlands Cemetery for their members. Everyone buried in the cemetery is either from the Netherlands, married to someone from the Netherlands, or descended from someone born in the Netherlands. Members of the Fischer family, who are related to the Hammelburg/Hamilburg families buried in the cemetery, have managed the cemetery since 1948. The current manager is Mr. Sam Fischer. About 1984, Mr. Fischer merged Netherlands Cemetery Association with the Roxbury Mutual Society, another burial society, changing the name to "Netherlands Cemetery Association and Roxbury Mutual Society Burial Ground." The still-active cemetery, with about 475 burial, is unaffiliated with any temple or synagogue. This very small cemetery in a quiet, residential neighborhood is neat and well maintained. The cemetery has an unlocked gate. The tombstones are in excellent condition with fewer than ten tombstones toppled due to age and weathering. Almost all of the tombstones are written in English, but many also have some Hebrew as well. I saw only one written in Dutch. A few of the older tombstones are difficult to read due to weathering. Many of the tombstones give the birthplace of the deceased, most commonly Amsterdam, but Utrecht, Schaagen, London, and Boston. In a few cases, the tombstone gives the maiden name of the wife. Some mention the deceased's spouse. Some give the dates of birth and death, while others give the date of death and age. Most names have more than one legible tombstone. The manager holds the records of the cemetery. The records consist of the following: name of the deceased, women by their married names only, date of death, and location of grave within the cemetery. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts, Inc. (JCAM), also holds the records. Five surnames on tombstones in the cemetery have no corresponding entries in the computer printout. Sometimes the names on the tombstones are spelled slightly differently from the names in the computer printout.
Directions to the Cemetery: From Boston, take I-93 north to exit 34 for the Stone Zoo. At the first traffic light, turn right onto Pond St, keeping Spot Pond on the right. Turn left at the sign for Melrose - this is still Pond St, but soon the name changes to W. Wyoming Ave. Turn left at the traffic light onto Main St. Turn right at the first street onto Lynde St. Turn right at Linwood Ave. The cemetery is a short distance down the street on the right. Park on the street in front of the cemetery. Contacts: Sam Fischer, the cemetery manager, can be reached at 28 Oak Knoll Terrace, Needham, MA 02492-1828 (781-444-5020).
This article was extracted from a listing of Jewish cemeteries in Massachusetts at
and is reprinted with permission of Mrs. Judith Mostyn White of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Photos by John Averell.
May 3, 2002