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Project to survey Holocaust-era mass graves

BERLIN (JTA) — A new project will survey mass graves and Jewish cemeteries in the Baltic states where Jewish communities were largely destroyed during World War II.

The aim is to identify and repair the neglected sites from the Holocaust era, which often are the last reminder of once-vibrant Jewish communities, according to a statement released Monday by Lo Tishkach-Do Not Forget, a project coordinated by the Conference of European Rabbis, the continent’s main Orthodox rabbinical association, and sponsored by the Conference for Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Youth groups in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will begin a training program this fall. They will conduct surveys of hundreds of local sites starting in early spring.

The groups will assemble geographical data, take photos and report on the condition of the sites. Of particular importance for the program is assessing the need for fences or demarcations in keeping with Jewish law. Local governments will be encouraged to contribute financially to the protection and improvement of the sites, the statement said.

The “identification and protection [of the cemeteries] is fundamental to the battle against Holocaust denial,” Lo Tishkach Executive Director Philip Carmel said.

The Genesis Philanthropy Group and the Claims Conference are supporting the project. Lo Tishkach was launched in early 2008.

 

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