Gesher Galicia SIG #Galicia Brody Cemetery Restoration Info #galicia


David M. Fox <fox@...>
 

I received a message >from Sam Gruber. Part of the message deals with the
Brody cemetery restoration project. I thought that some members of the DG
might be interested. If you wish to help the project, please contact Sam
Gruber <sdgruber@syr.edu>.

5. Cemetery Restoration at Brody, Ukraine

Work is now in progress restoring one of the two Jewish cemeteries in Brody,
Ukraine. The older cemetery is now a soccer field; no tombstones are
visible. To date, there has been no success in gaining local recognition
for the sacred nature of the site. The newer cemetery, however, is largely
extant, with its thousands of tall carved stones still erect. It is one of
the most impressive Jewish cemeteries - the rows of stones, some as much as
ten feet high, fill a large field, standing like a silent army guarding the
dead.

According to ISJM president Dr. Samuel Gruber who visited the site in May, a
new fence already encloses a substantial part of the cemetery, including a
portion used until recently as a country road. There is also a memorial
built on the site of a mass grave adjacent to the cemetery proper. Despite
the presence of hundreds (thousands?) of trees and bushes, the site is
mostly passable, so it is possible to walk through the cemetery and view the
gravestones. Importantly, the farmer who lives nearby is engaged to protect
and maintain the cemetery. Work to preserve the cemetery is coordinated by
Meylakh Sheykhet, a L'viv-based Jewish activist who has negotiated the
rescue and protection of many cemetery sites throughout the region.

Dr. Gruber reports that there remains much that still needs to be done to
protect the site in general and the stones themselves, as well as to make
the place a more accessible and pleasant memorial place, include clearing of
vegetation, possible re-erection of fallen stones, and the continuation
and/or strengthening of the fence in certain areas, including the completion
of the fencing of the area close to the adjacent farmhouses and the memorial
that has been used (and is still used) for gardening. The clearing of
vegetation and the completion of fencing are both tasks that can be done
without serious problems. Some clearing needs to be approved by the State
forestry officials because the land is classified as forest. The exact
location for some fencing still needs to be confirmed. A private American
donor has agreed to substantially fund theses phases of work.

The raising of stones is a bigger job, and not presently imperative. This
phase of work should be addressed only after the site is cleared and fully
secured. Clearing the site should be feasible with reasonable expense by
local workmen. The cleared site will reveal more stones fallen and
partially buried (these can now be felt underfoot). .

When all this is done, it is hoped that a landscape plan will be prepared
allowing careful decision of which, if any, larger trees should be left in
place, and whether any pathways through the cemetery can be laid out.
Lastly, modest signage on the site that gives some history of the cemetery,
the community and their fates is needed. The example of the recently
restored cemetery in Venice, Italy provides an example of this sort of plan.
--
David M. Fox
fox@erols.com
Belarus SIG Coordinator
Arnold, MD USA
http://www.jewishgen.org/belarus/

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