Before the Holocaust, Jewish cemeteries were at the heart of Jewish communities, as places where history was preserved and remembered. During the Holocaust, the Nazis saw them as physical and symbolic expressions of Jewish culture. In an attempt to erase all traces of Jewish people, tombstones were toppled, graves desecrated, bones removed, and funerary houses looted. Not content with inflicting physical damage, the Nazis used cemeteries as execution sites, with mass graves excavated for (and sometimes by) those killed.
This project will raise awareness of the causes and consequences of cultural and physical genocide within Jewish cemeteries, directly tackling racism, xenophobia and hostility in the present. It will mark the beginning of a planned long-term collaboration between the project partners as part of a commitment to researching these important, yet under-examined, aspects of Holocaust history.
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