Many of the cemeteries in the Małopolska, Masovia and Lublin regions of Poland – along with the communities associated with them – became the subjects of mass violence long before the nearby killing centres at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka and Majdanek were constructed. The origins of attacks and mass murder against the Jewish population can often be traced to these locations but the role of these sites as places of violence and unlawful burial have commonly been overlooked in favour of studies focused on Holocaust camps.
For the first stage of our work, our main geographical focus will be the regions aforementioned, where 1000s of Jewish cemeteries exist in varying states of preservation. We will work collaboratively with a number of external partners to research, survey and restore Jewish cemeteries in these areas.
Four field visits were planned during the project, as part of the social action stage of our work.
In July 2016, we undertook our first site survey visit to collect data in the Małopolska region and in August 2016 we carried out detailed fieldwork at Oświęcim Jewish cemetery. The results of this work will be available in August 2018. However, a photo gallery showing some of the work is already available to view.
In March 2017, we undertook our second site survey visit in the Masovia and Lublin regions, and in August 2017 we carried out detailed fieldwork at several Jewish cemeteries in this region. The cemeteries visited were Piaski and Wąwolnica, with an additional survey visit to the Małopolska region where Chrzanow was surveyed and a second year of surveying was completed at Oświęcim. The results of this work will also be available in August 2018, but photos from the survey can be viewed now.