(ISJM) The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has installed an information plaque at the Jewish cemetery grounds in Izbica, Poland, where conservation work has been underway since 2006.. The cemetery was established in the second half of the 18th century and severely damaged during the World War II.
Since 2006 the Foundation has pursued a program of cemetery protection and preservation. A monument to the Jewish community of Izbica. The monument was funded by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in cooperation with the Foundation was unveiled in November 2006.
According to the Foundation, here is a History of the Project:
During the World War II the Jewish cemetery in Izbica was desecrated, its fence was destroyed and the matzevot were used for constructing the Gestapo prison building. In September 2006, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, along with Tvschoenfilm, demolished the former prison building. After the demolition works were completed, the matzevot were moved back to the cemetery: those that were best preserved were installed on the walls of an ohel of the famous Tzadik of Izbica, Mordechai Josef Leiner, the others were secured. In the future they will be built in the cemetery’s new fence. The works were filmed by Tvschoenfilm; they will be used in a documentary about Kurt Engels, the boss of Gestapo in Izbica and one of the war criminals involved in the Reinhardt Operation. The film will be aired by the German ARD Television.Read more in the highly informative and well illustrated Brochure 'Izbica. A Story of a Place'.
In autumn 2006 the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany had joined forces with the Foundation to realize the IZBICA JEWISH CEMETERY COMMEMORATION PROJECT. The financial support of the Embassy allowed the Foundation to erect a monument commemorating the Jewish community of Izbica, publish pamphlets presenting the history of the town (in Polish and in English), organize educational activities for the students of the Izbica School Complex and, finally, to trace the geodesic boundaries of the cemetery and design a new fence.
On November 16th, 2006, a ceremony of unveiling of the monument commemorating the Jewish community of Izbica took place. The ceremony was attended by the Israeli Ambassador, Mr. David Peleg, the German Ambassador, Mr. Reinhard Schweppe, a representative of the President's Office, Ms. Malgorzata Zaluska, the Chief Rabbi of Galicia, Rabbi Edgar Gluck, a deputy bishop of the Lublin Archidiocese, bishop Mieczyslaw Cislo, representatives of the local authorities and the Izbica Mayor. The ceremony was also witnessed by a crowd of local citizens and children from the School Complex in Izbica.
The teachers and students of the School Complex in Izbica have been taking care of the Jewish cemetery in Izbica for many years, trying to discover the past of their town. In June 2003 the school, with help from Robert Kuwałek, Director of the Belzec Memorial Museum, started cooperating with the German organization Bildungswerk Stanislaw Hantz from Kassel. In September 2005 the School Complex in Izbica joined the educational program "To Bring Memory Back", launched by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage.
Within the framework of the „To Bring Memory Back” program the students take care of the Jewish cemetery, discover Jewish history and culture, and explore the history of the Jewish community of Izbica. They also undertake public activities leading to bring to the inhabitants of Izbica the memory of their past.
On December 19, 2006, the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage organized for the students of the Izbica School Complex a workshop on Jewish culture and history, dedicated also to the educational program's method and the realization of public activities.We certainly hope that thanks to the workshop, led by experienced animators, young people of Izbica will manage to invite many other inhabitants of their town to join them in taking care of the cemetery and exploring the past of Izbica.
The final stage of the IZBICA JEWISH CEMETERY COMMEMORATION PROJECT will be fencing the cemetery. The cost of this undertaking is estimated for 50 000 €. The Foundation is now seeking partners who will help us to complete this task.