The Foundation for Jewish Heritage has been part of a three member consortium led by ESJF, the European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, and also involving Centropa, which has been working on a European Union-funded pilot project, ‘Protecting the Jewish Cemeteries of Europe’.
As part of this work, the project has now published a "catalogue of best practices for Jewish cemetery preservation" with examples of preservation initiatives from across nine countries at every level, from grassroots programmes by local individuals and communities to the work of international NGOs and joint actions by European states.
The publication is to be used as a resource and a tool, and it is hoped that it will inspire others to launch cemetery preservation projects, either by adapting the existing ones that are presented here, or by creating original ones of their own.
It is calculated that there are 8,000 cemeteries across central and eastern Europe that, as a result of the tragic events of World War 2, became another example of orphaned Jewish heritage. That is why they are especially vulnerable, and why the schemes highlighted in the publication are so important, both in terms of ensuring the physical preservation of such sites, but also in enabling them to serve as important places of education about the Jewish life and contribution that was so brutally extinguished.
The full publication is available for download, and the event launching the publication can be watched below on YouTube.