ESJF Chief Executive Officer Philip Carmel presented the preliminary findings of our groundbreaking national survey of Jewish cemeteries in Belarus to a visiting delegation from the U.S. Commission for America’s Heritage Abroad in Minsk. After visiting more than 700 settlements where Jewish communities are known to have existed over the past 12 weeks, ESJF surveyors have located at least 420 definitive Jewish cemetery sites in Belarus (representing an almost 50% increase to the previously identified sites across the country). Of these sites, only 12% were found to have any adequate form of protection, with the vast majority lacking any form of delineation, fencing, or protection.
Over the coming month, the ESJF will work to compile the results of these surveys, producing a full report to be made available both in print and online format, while examining the feasibility of the fencing projects slated to start in Belarus next year.
Following the presentation, delegation members visited two Jewish cemetery sites in Ivyanets, accompanied by ESJF Education Coordinator Natalia Videneeva, who coordinated and led the visit.
We would like to extend our thanks to the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad and its Chair, Lesley Weiss, for all the support they have provided to our survey work in Belarus.