Rav Schudrich with the Polish Minister of Culture Galinsky.
Courtesy of the Polish Ministry of Culture
Poland has announced that it will put special stones up around some 1,400 Jewish cemeteries in the country. This was the agreement between the Chief Rabbi of Poland and the head of the Standing Committee of the Rabbinical Committee of Europe Rav Mordechai Schudrich and the Polish Minister of Culture Peter Galinsky.
The agreement provides that all of the cemeteries will be mapped and also entered into a computerized database that will be accessible to the public. Special boundary stones will be installed at the corners of the perimeters of the cemeteries. Rav Schudrich said that about 200 of these cemeteries are already fenced in, but the stones should also be installed around them since many of the fences are old and crumbling. There are also various disputes about the exact borders of some of the cemeteries.
Rav Schudrich said that hundreds of cemeteries have already been mapped. Some of these are in the computerized database of Lo Sishkach, which is a joint project of the Rabbinical Committee of Europe and the Claims Conference. The actual mapping will be carried out by the professional staff of the Antiquities Authority of the Polish Ministry of Culture using the records of the local communities and various international data repositories.
The stones will includes a bar code that visitors will be able to use to get information about the local community and about those buried in the cemeteries.
Rav Schudrich said that he hopes that this effort would prevent the encroachment of the historical cemeteries by local authorities and business interests.