Polish town saves Jewish cemetery from developers


WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A town in central Poland will protect a Jewish cemetery from being developed into a residential complex with underground parking.

The City Council of Grodzisk Mazowiecki has leased the land to the Jewish cemetery within its historic boundaries from developer Futura G.M., preventing the company from building a residential complex on the land.

Local authorities plan to ensure the cemetery is properly recognized.

The agreement signed by the Futura G.M. company and the city of Grodzisk is for an indefinite period. After identifying the legal status of the leased parcels and determining ownership, the municipality intends to purchase the land. The agreement was signed in January but first reported by local media late last week.

Futura G.M. has already left the area of the cemetery.

“All work to clean the area will be conducted in a way that guarantees respect for those buried there, former Jewish residents of Grodzisk Mazowiecki, in close cooperation with and supervision of the Jewish Community of Warsaw,” the mayor of Grodzisk, Grzegorz Benedykciński, told JTA.

The city will restore the cemetery’s remaining historic gate from the 19th century, which includes a Hebrew inscription, and build a new protective fence around the cemetery.

The Jewish cemetery in Grodzisk was divided after World War II, with a small section maintained as a cemetery and the remaining area acquired by a private company.

Plans to build apartments on the site were suspended in November 2014 after the Jewish community of Warsaw and local activist Robert Augustyniak, who is not Jewish, protested the plan and called for the cemetery to be registered as a protected area.

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