The ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative was established in 2015 by Rabbi Isaac Schapira as a German-based non-profit with the core objective of preserving Jewish cemeteries across Europe and most particularly in the regions impacted by the devastating consequences of the Shoah. Without their owners to safeguard them, these Jewish cemeteries have fallen into disrepair, and after 80 years of neglect, many are at risk of disappearing entirely, bringing the last physical testament to these ancient communities with them.
As of 2022, the ESJF has demarcated and fenced more than 250 Jewish cemeteries across Central and Eastern Europe thanks to annual support from the Federal Republic of Germany and private donors.
Alongside fencing and surveying, we work closely with teachers and students as well as local historians, librarians and museum workers. Through educational outreach programmes, local engagement and our publications, we connect with thousands of Europeans yearly to encourage reflection on the history of European Jewish communities through Jewish cemeteries and the importance of their preservation and maintenance as historical and cultural sites