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March 4, 2019 12:05 pm

Special Initiative to Map and Preserve Historic European Jewish Cemeteries

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A restored Jewish cemetery in the Serbian town of Bela Crkva. Photo: Courtesy of ESJF.

JNS.org – A new initiative to map historic Jewish cemeteries will utilize a drone to fly over 1,500 endangered burial sites.

According to Time magazine, the German-based European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative will feature a team of drone operators surveying cemeteries in countries where the Jewish communities were annihilated by the Holocaust, including Greece, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Moldova.

Once the graveyards are mapped out, they will be cleaned, repaired and sealed under lock and key to protect against potential desecration. Groundskeepers and guards will also be employed at the sites.

Some of the sites which the EJCI will impact had to be found by local residents or pinpointed with the use of pre-1918 German Luftwaffe maps and aerial photos due to the state of abandon and overgrowth at the locations.

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Approximately $910,000 of the effort’s funding will come from the European Union, which has made an effort in recent weeks to push back against rising antisemitism in their bloc.

According to organizers, there are approximately 10,000 Jewish cemeteries in 46 European countries.

Previous preservation efforts have been made by the EJCI in 123 cemeteries in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Slovakia.

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