HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – Beth Olem Cemetery is like many aging, final resting places, with assorted tombstones in varying condition, sizes and styles, surrounded by a brick wall and iron gate.
Yet surrounding it on all sides is an unusual neighbor: a massive automotive plant.
The green oasis sits within the grounds of General Motors Co.'s Detroit Hamtramck Plant, which makes Chevrolet Volts and Cadillacs. Public access is limited to a couple days a year, including this past Sunday.
The Jewish cemetery survives through historical quirks — particularly a pact reached about 35 years ago to preserve the cemetery as GM sought to demolish a neighborhood and build a plant.
Visitors included Susan Brodsky, who saw her great-grandfather's grave for the first time. The connection was made through a daughter's college genealogy project.