Sunday, December 7, 2008

Poland: Przemysl's Jewish cemetery project

David Semmel writes the Jewish Prezemysl Blog, which is devoted to the descendants who are researching and remembering 700 years of Jewish life in the town.

A recent post details work on the cemetery project, and a plea for funds to continue preservation and restoration work at the Slowackiego Street Cemetery, spearheaded by Dr. John Hartman, who leads The Remembrance & Reconciliation Foundation.

Anyone who has been to the site ten years ago and recently can testify as to the progress - and the amount of work that remains.

We wage a constant battle against the elements in the form of yearly maintenance and repair. In general, the winters in Przemysl are harsh and combined with the hilly topography of the site, there is constant and serious erosion in many places.

In addition, there was a windstorm recently that downed several trees, requiring an unplanned, emergency clean-up.

We are lucky to employ one of the very few Jews left in the town, Mr. Jocaim Glettner, a mason by trade, as the general contractor/overseer. Paying him, and just keeping up with maintenance usually costs $5,000/year – but over $8,000 this year as the dollar tanked.

Hartman and Semmel together raise about two-thirds of the funds which are mostly used for current upkeep with no funds for restoration or other projects.

Prezemysl descendants may be interested in remembering their ancestors by contributing to star plaques commemorating mass-murder victims ($100 each); Jewish historical plaques for the cemetery wall ($500 each); construction of a walkway between the two mass-murder monuments ($7,500); and the clearing of walks and access paths in the cemetery's older sections ($1,000) .

The Foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)3 organization and contributions are used only for projects in Poland. See the Foundation link above to make donations, or obtain more information.

Contact Semmel through his blog and Hartman through the Foundation.

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