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Polish cemetery restored

A ceremony marked the completion of a Jewish cemetery restoration in Galicia, Poland.

The cemetery, in the town of Siedlezcka, was established in 1850 and served several area Jewish communities. Approximately 500 graves remain, with the last known burial taking place in 1940.

In 1942 the Nazis rounded up more than 1,000 Jews from the nearby town of Kanczuga, marched them to the grounds of the cemetery and murdered them before tossing their bodies into a mass grave on the site.

Part of the restoration included rebuilding a stone wall around the cemetery after local farmers attempted to expand their farming area to the site.

The restoration was funded by Michael Freund, the chairman of Shavei Israel, and his family through the Warsaw-based Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland and the Siedleczka-Kanczuga Landsmanschaft.

Freund was on hand for Monday’s ceremony at the cemetery’s entrance, as was Kanczuga Mayor Jacek Solek, who agreed to pave a new road to the cemetery at the town’s expense.

“Today when I look over the result of the restoration work, I am very hopeful that the cemetery is now safe from plunder and that it will continue to serve as a monument to the thousands of Jews who lived in this area before the Germans arrived and destroyed everything,” Freund said.

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