ESJF Chief Executive Officer Philip Carmel presented preliminary findings of our groundbreaking national survey of Jewish cemeteries in Belarus to a visiting delegation of the United States Commission for America’s Heritage Abroad in Minsk. Over the past 12 weeks, ESJF surveyors have located at least 420 definitive Jewish cemetery sites across the country (representing a near 50 percent increase in previously identified sites in Belarus) and following visits to more than 700 settlements where Jewish communities were known to have existed. Of these known sites, only 12 percent have any form of adequate protection, while the vast majority lack any form of delineation, fencing or protection.
Over the coming month, the ESJF will be compiling results from these surveys, producing a full report to be available in both printed and online form, and examining the feasibility of fencing projects in Belarus to begin next year.
Following the presentation, delegation members visited two Jewish cemetery sites in Ivyanets. The delegation was accompanied to these sites by ESJF Education Coordinator Natalia Videneeva, who coordinated and organised the visit.
Our thanks to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad and Chair Lesley Weiss for all your support for ESJF projects and for this important national survey in Belarus.