Restoration of historic Jewish gravestones completed at Warsaw cemetery

Katarzyna Markusz

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage financed the restoration of 21 historic gravestones at the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw.

The gravestones were crafted before the World War II by Abraham Ostrzega, a Jewish artist murdered in 1942 in Treblinka.

Among the restored gravestones are Mausoleum of the Three Writers – where are buried Polish writers Isaac Leib Peretz, Jakub Dinezon and Szymon Anski, the grave of Uri Nissan Gnissen, a Russian-Jewish writer who died in 1913, and the mausoleum of Magnus Krynski, a Polish writer and editor who died in 1916.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition of the restored tombstones took place on Friday. At the entrance to the cemetery is available free map of part of the cemetery, which marks the gravestones crafted by Ostrzega. The map was created by the Foundation of Cultural Heritage, which coordinated the renovation project of tombstones and regularly organizes cleaning of the Jewish cemetery.

“With today’s ceremony we want to draw attention to the severe losses suffered by Polish and European culture as a result of the Holocaust. We also want to symbolically highlight the need to personalize the victims of the Holocaust, by reminding this exceptional creator, from whom the Nazis irreversibly took back the opportunity to develop his individual talent,” Polish Culture  Minister Piotr Glinski said during the ceremony.

Michal Laszczkowski of the Foundation of Cultural Heritage pointed out that at the Jewish cemetery “nearly every tombstone is the only visible sign of the presence of a people who for hundreds of years co-created Polish society, Polish culture, art, public life.”

The opening of the exhibition of restored gravestones took place on the 75th anniversary of the Wannsee conference, during which the plan was approved to exterminate the Jews.

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