Anonymous entrepreneur restores Jewish cemetery in Poland
The Jewish cemetery of Å»ywiec, Poland, in 2007. (Adam Midor/Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
WARSAW, Poland â" An anonymous Polish entrepreneur has spent hundreds of thousands of zlotys to restore the Jewish cemetery of Å»ywiec, a small central Polish town of 32,000 residents.
The cemetery had fallen into ruin following World War II, and was among several under the care of the Jewish community of Bielsko-BiaÅa, which has only a few dozen members, Wyborcza.pl reported.
The community, which maintains responsibility for a dozen such cemeteries, was unable to pay fo r the upkeep of the 19th-century graveyard, which was overgrown with weeds.
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The philanthropist, who asked to remain anonymous, expects the the work to be completed by September. He hired 10 workers to repair the fence and restore tombstones, many of which had toppled. Some weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds).
âThis man is a great Pole. To say âthank youâ is not enough,â said Dorota WiewiÃ³ra, chairman of the Bielsko-BiaÅa Jewish community.
Eastern and Central Europe are dotted with crumbling Jewish cemeteries and untended mass graves. Last month a memorial to the Holocaust victims in the central Polish town of Plock was found vandalized, and swastikas were painted on the fence of its Jewish cemetery. The following day, Plock residents gathered to clean up the cemetery, which also was filled with garbage and overgrowth, and paint over the anti-Semitic graffiti.
The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has said that many cemeteries are neglected, âwithout any marking, without fences and even without gravestones,â Haaretz reported.
Last December, Jewish corpses were dug up and discarded by Polish workers building an electrical substation in what the countryâs chief rabbi called âa full-out scandal.â
More recently, a rabbi from Washington, DC, said he and his children encountered trash and bone fragments scattered around the grounds of two former mass graves of Jews in Ukraine.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.read more:
- Jewish Times
- Jews in Poland
- Jewish cemeter ies
- Jewish philanthropy