Monday, July 22, 2013

Poland: Jewish Cemetery News

Cross posted from Jewish Heritage Europe
Jewish Cemetery News from Poland

Work in Zabrow Jewish Cemetery. Photo courtesy of FODZ

Here’s a roundup of recent news related to Jewish cemeteries in Poland, from Virtual Shtetl (and other sources) 

Three cast-iron grave markers discovered at a monastery near Żarki
The three cast-iron markers, whose epitaphs are still legible, were discovered during construction works on the grounds of the Pauline monastery in Leśniów, in a building that served as a hospital before WW2. The plaques are believed to have been located originally in the Jewish cemetery in nearby Żarki. They are currently being kept in the local cultural center in Żarki, which is housed in the former synagogue at ul. Moniuszki 2. According to the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper,  Poland’s Chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich,  has agreed to affix the cast-iron markers to the wall of the new Jewish cemetery in Żarki, on ul. Polna. If not there, may be displayed in  cultural center’s museum.

The town of Żarki, near Czestochowa in south-central Poland, actively promotes its Jewish history and heritage with a Jewish Culture Trail in English and Polish that is accessible on the town’s web site. 
Restoration work begins at Jewish cemetery in Błędów

The municipality and local residents in Błędów, a village near Grójec in central Poland, have begun regular work to clear the Jewish cemetery on ul. Nowy Swiat of vegetation and rubble. The cemetery was devastated during and after WW2; it served as a gravel pit, and Jewish headstones were used for constructing houses and barns and as millstones. Local citizens, backed by the municipality, formed a committee to restore and maintain the cemetery in 1996. Fragments of gravestones discovered in town were brought back there.

July 6-13, Zambrów hosted 19 volunteers and a caretaker from the United States to work on the restoration of the Jewish cemetery. They also took part in workshops about the history of Podlasie Jews.  The project to restore the cemetery was launched by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage (FODŻ) together with The Matzevah Foundation. This year, FODŻ plans to start building a fence around the cemetery, which is due to be finished next summer. A memorial wall using fragments of gravestones is planned. Already last year  a group of US volunteers  removed vegetation that had covered the headstones and a memorial plaque funded by The Matzevah Foundation and Michael H. Traison Fund for Poland was officially unveiled.

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