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, detailing the condition 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, facing potential, if not necessarily immediate, destruction.

* 67 cemeteries (some 17% of the total) were defined as unprotected and unfenced Jewish cemeteries, under urgent and immediate threat.

* 47 cemeteries (12% of the total) have been demolished but are not overbuilt.

* 93 Jewish cemeteries have been destroyed, with the land built over.

* Only 70 of the 401 surveyed Jewish cemeteries in Belarus are equipped with even minimal fencing to mark the territory and offer some basic 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. This information is spread across six regional volumes, with a seventh volume providing a narrative report. It is currently entering production and copies will be available from early March 2017.

If you are interested in ordering copies either in print 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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