Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Publication: New Catalog of Jewish Cemeteries of Masovian Region, Poland

Publication: New Catalog of Jewish Cemeteries of Masovian Region, Poland
by Samuel D. Gruber

(ISJM) A report on the current state of Poland’s Jewish cemeteries published last October has revealed that dozens still lie unmarked and neglected while many others have been built over completely. Commissioned by the Lo Tishkach Foundation, the report Jewish Cemeteries of Poland: Masovian Region, focuses on the 126 Jewish burial grounds of the Masovian Voivodeship, Poland’s largest region.

For me, reading the report is mostly distressing, since it indicates that there has been a change for the better for only a small number of cemeteries sites since I published (with Phyllis Myers, Lena Bergman and Jan Jagielski) the first comprehensive survey of Polish Jewish cemeteries in 1994 (updated and revised in 1995). It is important that that survey, undertaken in partnership between the US Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad and the World Monuments Fund, be up dated for all of Poland. In the Masovian Region - which as the result of administrative reorganization comprises several of the districts listed in the US Commission survey report - 126 cemeteries listed in the new survey, only 20 (15.9%) of which are deemed protected - that is identified, delineated and maintained. All the other sites remain in some manner at risk.

Still, there are some successes, and these frequently involve local non-Jewish communities. To read summaries of some local cemetery preservation projects in Poland click here.

For more on Lo Tishkach see my earlier blog post: Lo Tishkach Works to List All European Jewish Cemeteries.

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