Today, the JewishGen Future Scholar Fellows spent their third and
final day cleaning up the Krzepice, Poland Jewish Cemetery. They again
arrived early at the cemetery, where they were joined by a group of
special needs adults who came to assist in the clean-up process.
The day began with an emotional and impassioned speech >from Steven D.
Reece about the importance of our work. During the day, as the final
trees were chopped, and various branches and weeds were carried away,
JewishGen Fellows also spent time scraping moss and dirt off of
tombstones, in an effort to read their transcriptions. While this
could take time (some stones could take approximately an hour to
clean), the JewishGen Fellows reported that it was very rewarding to
be able to read about the people buried in this cemetery, and how if
not for JewishGen.org and The Matzevah Foundation, Inc., then these
people would not have been remembered in this way.
In the early afternoon, the JewishGen Fellows took a short lunch and
then visited the ruins of a local synagogue, which had been destroyed
by fire prior to the Shoah (the town's other Synagogue was destroyed
by the Nazis).
Before leaving, the JewishGen Fellows were given a presentation by
Aleksander Schwarz >from the Rabbinical Commission on Cemeteries in
Poland. He delivered an overview of the Halachik requirements for
preserving and restoring cemeteries. He then led the Fellows on a
walk-through of the cemetery to the sites that were potentially those
of mass graves. Alek explained the process he would undertake to
determine if this was the case, and some of the tools that are
rabbinically approved, and under what circumstances he could use them.
Following a really fun dinner, the JewishGen Fellows and Dan Oren,
Avraham Groll, and Steven D. Reece held a final reflection exercise,
and also discussed potential improvements to future programs.
Tomorrow, the Fellows will be visiting Lodz, where they will have
lunch with Maria Synger, a Lodz Jewish community educator. >from there
they will travel to Warsaw's airport for flights home.
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