Saturday, November 24, 2012

Publication: New Book by Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

Jozefow Bilgoraski, Poland.  Cemetery repair, summer 2012. Photo: FODZ

Publication: New Book by Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland

(ISJM) For many years I have been recording the challenges and successes of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (Fundacja Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego), best known by its Polish acronym FODZ.  The Foundation continues to rank among the most successful and sustained efforts to manage, maintain, preserve and promote immovable Jewish cultural heritage.  This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Foundation and on the occasion FODZ has produced a book introducing many of its most impressive projects in cemetery and synagogue protection, conservation and protection.  The book with its many excellent and often dramatic photographic illustrations is available as a downloadable pdf here.

Krasnik, Poland.  Former synagogue, Photo: FODZ
While the text of the book makes light of the many continuing political, financial, religious, technical and aesthetic difficulties the foundation faces every day in the process of obtaining legal title to properties, and then planning their long term survival, it does illustrate the wide range of solutions adopted.  There is no one way to protect and preserve Jewish heritage, and this book demonstrates that often a related and coordinated mix of solutions is the best way to proceed.  Some sites of commemorated with plaques, others are fully restored. Some are conserved as protected ruins, others are made new again for religious or cultural use.  This book can be used as handbook on Jewish heritage preservation.  It demonstrate how through persistent and creative actions many of the theoretical discussions of the 1990s have been taken to heart, and tested and adapted in the world of real politics and physical monuments

A decade of demonstrated success by FODZ now provides an example to be followed in other countries of the world (for example in addition to East European countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Moldova, the model could also be adapted in more distant places with small Jewish communities by large stocks of Jewish monuments, such as Morocco and India.

Prysucha, Poland. Restoration of former synagogue. Photo: FODZ (2012)

The book is published as part of a project co-financed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the framework of the program 'Cooperation in the field of public diplomacy 2012'. Partners of the project are the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.

For a full accounting of the foundation's many other commemorative and educational programs, as well more complete documentary and photographic evidence of the site it manages, one should still consult the Foundation'sever-expanding website.

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