(JHE) — The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) has launched a new web site and project aimed at fostering public awareness of synagogues, cemeteries and other Jewish built heritage via digital models and detailed virtual tours of selected buildings and a series of online webinars.
The project web site provides digital models and virtual tours of selected Jewish historical sites in (so far) Kraśnik, Łęczna, Łancut, Olsztyn, Orla, Przysucha, Sejny, and Zamość.
Three webinars on aspects of Jewish built heritage in Poland will take place in November and December.
Called “Virtual meetings with the material heritage of Polish Jews” and funded by a grant from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the project has two stated main goals:
- Making historical monuments of the Jewish heritage (synagogues, cemeteries, pre-funeral house) accessible, to a wider public, in Poland and abroad, by offering virtual visits that can be taken without leaving one’s home
- Facilitating discussions, in the form of webinars, about the historical and cultural value of the material Jewish heritage in Poland and about challenges that Polish and Jewish partners, engaged in its preservation, face.
“It is our hope that the webinar discussions as well as digital models of these historic buildings will contribute to an increase of interest in surviving Jewish heritage in Poland,” the web site states.
“Furthermore,” it says, “it is our intention to highlight:
- challenges and the vast amount of work that needs to be carried out for the purpose of this heritage’s preservation,
- the potential of these historic monuments as cultural resources for both Jews and Poles and as safe and inspiring spaces for the Polish-Jewish dialogue.”
FODZ was established in 2002 by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). Its primary mission is to protect and commemorate the surviving sites and monuments of Jewish cultural heritage in Poland.
It is active where no Jewish community exists today or where distance from major urban centers or lack of sufficient financial resources makes it difficult for existing small Jewish communities to provide adequate long-term care and maintenance.