Thursday, July 10, 2008

Great website: Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

I recommend the website of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland at:

The website of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland is one of the most important new engines for tracking the location and condition of Jewish heritage sties. I’ve been involved off and on with the documentation and preservation of Jewish sites in Poland for almost 20 years, waiting for this kind of a high-quality, well-designed and easily accessible database on sites with extensive photographic and descriptive information (I was involved with a failed effort to do this in an earlier computer age). While there is still a long way to go, already over 5000 photos of about 300 sites (mostly cemeteries) are posted. This site does not replace the often more detailed information one can find (erratically) through Shtetlinks and the IAJGS’s cemetery project ( ) and other on-line sources, but it presents the most up-to-date information available on-line.

The Foundation was established by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) with the aim of reclaiming properties owned by Jewish Religious Communities and other Jewish legal entities before World War II (based on the Law on the Relationship between the State and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities of 1997), and the management, restoration and protection of returned properties, especially those of religious or historical significance. After a slow start, the work of the Foundation is well underway and generally of very high quality. To date the Foundation has been involved in restoration projects at many cemeteries including completed projects at Kolno, Koszalin, Kozienice, Różan, Strzegowo, and Zakopane. projects in Bodzanów, Dubienka, Frampol, Iłża, Iwaniska, Kłodzko, Mszczonów, Narol, Przasnysz, Sochaczew, Zielona Góra, Ziębice and elsewhere. The Foundation is also sponsoring the restoration of the 17th-century synagogue of Zamosc, and has organized extensive educational programs in Poland.

On the web, the Foudnation sponsors the portal POLIN – Polish Jewish Heritage! Which include information including histories, photos, maps and other materials for scores of Polish Jewish sites. The database of information keeps expanding and POLIN welcomes contributions from viewers.

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