January 18, 2018

ESJF report on Belarus cemeteries

Groundbreaking ESJF report on Belarus cemeteries details major threats to Jewish heritage sites

The ESJF report on the Jewish cemeteries of Belarus for the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad is now complete and details condition status of 401 sites visited by our survey teams in the second half of 2017. This represents the first ever comprehensive listing of Belarus Jewish cemeteries.

The report notes the following key findings:

* 102 Jewish cemeteries, or slightly more than a quarter of all those in Belarus, are unprotected and unfenced and face potential, if not necessarily immediate destruction.

* Some 17% of the total, or 67 cemeteries, were defined as unprotected and unfenced Jewish cemeteries, which are under urgent and immediate threat.

* 47 cemeteries (12% of the total) have been obliterated at ground level, but are not overbuilt.

* 93 Jewish cemeteries have been destroyed and their territories built upon.

* Only 70 Jewish cemeteries in Belarus out of 401 surveyed sites are surrounded by at least a minimal form of fencing marking the territory and offering some basic level of protection.

The full report, including maps, photographs, preservation grading, indexes, proposed works at each site and historical details of the Jewish communities they served comes in at some 900 pages spread across six regional volumes and a seventh volume narrative report. It is currently undergoing publication and copies will be able to be obtained as from early March 2017.

If you are interested in ordering published copies either in printed or pdf form for any of the six Belarus regions – Brest, Homel (Gomel), Hrodna (Grodno), Minsk, Mahilyow (Mogilev) and Vicebsk (Vitebsk), the narrative report, or the complete seven volume set, please contact the ESJF office at info@esjf-cemeteries.org

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