The recently established ESJF — European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative — has launched a web site where you can access information on its activities — fencing Jewish cemeteries in (mainly) Eastern and Central Europe; delineating their boundaries; and clearly identifying these sites as Jewish cemeteries.
The ESJF was set up as a German-based non-profit organization in early 2015. Funded in 2015 through a pilot grant of 1,000,000 euros from the German government the ESJF is currently working on some 30 individual protection projects in four European countries, all to be completed by the end of this year.
Brief reports on projects — including completed projects and planned projects — are posted on the web site, in a news section and in a section listing projects by country.
The most recent was the completion of fencing of the Jewish cemetery in Korshun Shevchenkivskyi, Ukraine, which was dedicated with a ceremony November 16. Taking part were Christof Weil, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine, Josef Zissels, President of the VAAD umbrella organisation of Ukrainian Jewish communities, Oleksandr Haidai, Mayor of Korsun Shevchenkivsky, Gabriele Baumann, head of the Kiev office of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Hennadii Polishuk, First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Kiev,and Philip Carmel, ESJF Chief Executive Officer.
“It is not within the remit of this project to renovate or replace gravestones,” the web site states.
Instead, the ESJF’s mission is:
— Construction of protective perimeter walls or fences in at Jewish cemetery sites across Europe;
— Establishing clear and defined boundaries for cemetery sites;
— Placement of clear identification markers defining the sites as Jewish cemeteries;
— Signed agreements with local authorities, Jewish communities or site owners for long-term protection;
— Standardized procedure to attain best practice in engineering, budgeting and halachic criteria.