Friday, March 27, 2009

Ruth Ellen Gruber writes about Bratislava Seminar of JTA

Ruth Ellen Gruber writes about Bratislava Seminar of JTA

JTA columnist Ruth Ellen Gruber (and my esteemed sister) has written about the recent Bratislava seminar (see my previous post). Ruth's advice was important in organizing the seminar, and her extensive experience in almost all the countries represented provided the participants with valuable perspective. Over the past twenty years Ruth has traveled extensively in and written about Jewish heritage in all of the countries participating except Estonia and Belarus.

Ruthless Cosmopolitan: New effort to preserve restituted property

Ruth Ellen Gruber · March 26, 2009


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia (JTA) – The restitution of Jewish communal property in Central and Eastern Europe has been a hot-button issue since the Iron Curtain fell nearly 20 years ago.

But often forgotten amid the slow and painful legal battles to get back historic Jewish properties that were seized by the Nazis or nationalized by postwar Communist regimes is the practical and urgent need to care for, conserve and maintain the properties once they’ve been recovered.

For two decades and more, I've documented, written about and photographed these sites, which include many yeshivas and synagogues.

Many are huge. Many are dilapidated. Some are recognized as historic monuments. Most stand in towns where few, if any, Jews now live. Even basic maintenance can stretch already strapped communal resources.

In March, I joined Jewish community representatives from 15 countries who gathered to address these concerns at a seminar held in the Slovak capital, Bratislava.

Read the full story here

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