Sunday, June 27, 2010

Poland: Recovery of Matzevot from Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki and Protection of Cemetery Site

Nowy Dwor, Poland. Recovery of Jewish gravestones that had been used as the foundation for a sidewalk by the river. Photos courtesy of

Poland: Recovery of Matzevot from Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki and Protection of Cemetery Site

(ISJM) A new effort is underway to protect and preserve the Jewish cemetery of the central Polish town of Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki. You can read more and see photos here. The cemetery had been desecrated and destroyed after the evacuation of the Jews from the Nowy Dwór Ghetto to the concentration camps, had been all but abandoned. The graves had been opened and plundered of their concrete caskets and headstones (Matzevot); bones were scattered, leaving little to no evidence of what happened to the generations of souls that had been laid to rest there. In the 1980s squatters had begun to build houses on the edge of the property that they claimed, “Belonged to no one.” People excavated the hillside of the property for sand and gravel.

The goal of the Nowy-Dwór-Maz-Jewish-Cemetery-Restoration-and-Memorial is "to preserve and protect the cemetery as a physical attestation to what happened. One just has to look at it to understand the significance. We have a proposal to secure the property with a proper fence, similar to that used in local public parks. The length of the fence is 670 meters with a cost in excess of $40,000. Our wish is to make the newly discovered headstones part of a memorial and interpretive area at the entrance to the cemetery to tell the story of what once was. We would also like to install a “Scroll of Remembrance” listing as many names as can be found: Names of people who were buried there before the Holocaust and names of people who died in the camps that were not able to live their lives out in peace. This is just a concept at the moment, as we need to develop a program that would be most appropriate and respectful."

Beginning last year soil from the construction site of the new Jewish Museum in Warsaw has been brought to cover the many now-exposed bones which are scattered throughout the cemetery. Plans are to fence the site and then to build a memorial incorporating matzevot that have been recovered form sidewalk paving elsewhere in thew town.

The local municipality has been very cooperative in the developing the project, but the cost of the fencing is estimated at $40,000 which must be paid with outside funds. So far, a little more than $10,000 has been raised. To make (USA) tax-exempt contribution consult the website.

For addition information contact:

Ze’ev Shaked (USA):

David Wluka (USA):

Yosef Kieliszek (Israel)
(972) 3-503-2461

1 comment:

Nancy Wluka said...

So much has happened since this post - Please revisit the website. We have dedicated the wall of Matzevot and will be dedicating a Yarzheit wall for those who perished in the Shoah and have no graves. The City of Gedera Israel has sent more than 100 children to Nowy Dwor for meet their counterparts and explore the issue of tolerance in the modern world.

we have done so much and have so much more to do and need your help. Please spread the word about our project and, if you can, donate so that we can continue our work. It would be a great Mitzvah