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The project of restoring of the Jewish cemetery in Trzemeszno

In September 2021, the team of people was appointed in the City Office of Trzemeszno. Their aim was voluntary work for taking care of the local Jewish cemetery, which, after being looted of the matzevot, was abandoned after the war and has overgrown with wild greenery (photo 1).

Photo.1. On the left – the overgrown area of the Jewish cemetery. (Source: photo by Agnieszka Kostuch)

It was a grassroots movement, clarified within a few months as the result of the actions taken by the city inhabitants and other people who cared about the poor condition of the cemetery and the surviving matzevot. The action plan had been done and the team started the activities aimed at obtaining the financing, such as an application for a grant from the Society of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw for cleaning the matzevot. Also, a fundraising campaign had been started - https://zrzutka.pl/en/w84nrx

On October 22nd , Order no. 504.2021 about the formal appointment of the Team dedicated to cleaning and commemorating the Jewish Cemetery in Trzemeszno was issued by the city mayor (photo 2).

Photo.2. The order of the city mayor on the team appointment. (Source: www.bip.trzemeszno.pl)

On October 24th, on the invitation of deputy mayor Dariusz Jankowski, the historian Dr. Robert Zimny, together with Jacek Derezyński, came to Trzemeszno to share their experience from the renovation of the Jewish cemetery in Ryczywol (photo 3).

Photo.3. The meeting with the guests from Ryczywol in a historical building of the St. Lazarus Church. (Source: photo by Katarzyna Sudaj)

The next step of the Trzemeszno Municipality was to join the Coalition of Guardians of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland which allowed them to get a grant from the Cultural Heritage Foundation for greenery cleaning on the cemetery area. A detailed description of the works, conducted in November, with a large number of volunteers can be found here: https://cmentarzezydowskie.org/aktualnosci/trzemeszno-ponad-120-wolontariuszy-na-cmentarzu-zydowskim/

In November we also received the above-mentioned grant for cleaning the matzevot. It will be outsourced to a professional stonemasonry in the nearest future.

On November 15th, the next meeting of the team took place, with the participation of the representative of the Rabbinical Commission on the Jewish Cemeteries Filip Szczepański, who initially marked the place on the cemetery for the future lapidary (photo 4).

Photo 4. The Team members and Filip Szczepański visiting the cemetery. (Source: photo by Renata Pałucka)

As of January of 2022, the matzevot inventory has started, led by Dr. Andrzej Leśniewski, involving the Team members and supported by the historian-Judaist Sławomir Pastuszka, who had already translated part of the matzevot inscriptions (photo 5).

Photo.5. The matzevot in the former vocational school’s workshops building. (Source: Katarzyna Sudaj)

The arranging of the lapidary, made of the surviving matzevot as well as marking the cemetery is planned for November of 2022. We will keep you informed about the works’ results.

Agnieszka Kostuch

‎‎‎‎‎‎‎Translated by Jolanta Wojciechowska

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