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Let’s Protect the
Jewish Cemeteries
in Lublin

Foundation

Under the slogan “Let’s Protect the Jewish Cemeteries in Lublin,” the first foundation aimed at taking care of Lublin’s Jewish cemeteries was established. Due to issues of unregulated ownership, the three cemeteries were long left untended. The Let’s Protect the Jewish Cemeteries in Lublin Foundation will change this situation. As of Monday, the Association, with its headquarters in Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin at 85 Lubartowska Street, has been formally incorporated and registered with the National Judicial Registry.

“The crumbling outer wall of the Jewish cemetery in the Kalinowszczyzna neighborhood requires immediate attention. Renovation of that cemetery is one of our priorities,” says Szymon Bakalczuk, chairman of the foundation. The Jewish Community of Warsaw has committed itself to providing initial funding for the project. The project is due to be completed by 2010. “We are intent on preserving and displaying the oldest matzevot and Judaica,” says Bakalczuk. “We are also planning to begin training guides in Lublin, so they will be able to knowledgeably guide groups through the three cemeteries. Lublin’s roots are firmly grounded in multiculturalism. We would like to emphasize the Jewish cultural aspects of the city through educational programming as well. Following the lead of the Jewish cemeteries in Prague, we will ask visitors to enter the cemeteries with head coverings. We will also be introducing an entrance fee,” he emphasizes. The organization will also promote Jewish cultural heritage in the Lublin region.

Space available in the renovated Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin makes this initiative, which is to include klezmer music concerts and academic conferences, possible. An equally important task of the Association is to foster tolerance and facilitate intercultural dialogue. “Anti-Semitism in Poland is only an issue for an alienated group of people,” Bakalczuk emphasizes.

“Until now, the care of the Jewish cemeteries in Lublin was at a standstill. Lacking legal title, it was impossible to begin renovations,” says Tomasz Pietrasiewicz, director of the Brama Grodzka-NN Theater Center. “The establishment of a foundation dedicated to caring for the cemeteries on Kalinowszcyzna and Sienna Streets and in Wieniawa is a decisively positive solution.”

The Warsaw Jewish Community is the Association’s funding body. The Lublin City Council and local politicians have committed themselves to co-finance the Foundation’s initiatives.
 
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