June 12, 2019

Policy officer Maciej Hofman from the European Commission visits Zakarpattya with the ESJF survey team

The 2019-2020 EU grant given to ESJF entails not only a mass survey of 1,500 Jewish cemeteries across 5 countries, but also educational initiatives and efforts to build cooperation with local authorities in spreading the word about our shared heritage.

Between the 5th and the 7th of June, policy officer Maciej Hofman from the European Commission Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport, and Culture paid a visit to Ukraine to get an insight into the work of our survey team.

ESJF surveyors Ian Galevskii and Ernest Samsonchyk, accompanied by our media and communications officer Diána Vonnák, gave a demonstration of the work ESJF does on the ground. This involved visits to cemeteries in Chumaliovo, Kryva, Nyzhnya Apsha (in the Tiachiv district), as well as Kolochava, Synevyr, Mizhhirya, Verkhniy Bystryi, and Maydan (in the Mizhhirya district). Alongside our drone surveys, we made efforts to consult with local authorities wherever possible, including a meeting with Mr. Vasyl Yuryk from the Mizhhirya Regional State Administration.

We visited the open-air skansen in Kolochava, where a reconstruction of a Jewish school and a Jewish-owned pub is being exhibited. The local museum infrastructure has significant potential as a resource for the educational aspect of ESJF’s work.

The cemetery sites we visited presented a variety of challenges: some were remote or unfenced, while others were in poor condition and showed signs of illicit activity. However, our efforts were met with interest and support from the communities and local authorities. The EU co-funded surveys are now roughly 30% complete, and their results are being regularly uploaded to the survey website.

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