Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Poland: Warsaw’s Brodno Jewish cemetery returned to Jewish ownership

Cross-posted from Jewish Heritage Europe

Jewish cemetery in Warsaw returned to community

Warsaw’s Brodno Jewish cemetery, founded in the 18th century, has been returned to Jewish ownership. The cemetery has been heavily vandalized over the years, despite some attempts at restoration, notably in the 1980s by the Nissenbaum Foundation. (See the report in Warsaw’s Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.)
Haaretz reports that in exchange, the community will yield rights to a plot of land no longer accessible due to the residential buildings and roads built on it.

The city will also pay the Jewish community 15 million zlotys  as part of the deal, part of which will be used to renovate the cemetery, which has been targeted by vandals several times in recent years. [...]

Because of the security problems, the municipality was interested in giving up responsibility for the graveyard but the Jewish community hesitated to absorb the cost and effort of maintaining it. When funding was offered, however, it agreed to do so. [...]

Recent excavations around the cemetery

revealed human bones where a road was slated to be paved. Poland’s chief rabbi, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, objected to removing the remains and the issue became the subject of intense negotiations. In the end, the municipality submitted to the Jewish community and the road will be paved elsewhere.

Last summer,  lack of rainfall lowered the level of the Vistula River to such an extent that long-submerged objects  including fragments and Jewish tombstones from the Brodno cemetery — were found. The stones were probably used to pave the river bottom after WW2. They were returned to the Brodno cemetery.

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