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On this page we present a variety of print and digital references related to the study, rehabilitation, and preservation of Jewish heritage sites, including site and object databases, project organizations and their methods, and critical studies. Resources in the form of preservation guidelines and best practices suitable for application in western Ukraine are unfortunately rather limited.
This page is part of a series on reference materials and web links related to Jewish heritage work in the Rohatyn region and beyond.
Good Practices in the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Heritage: A Guide Based on the Polish and Belarusian Experiences
Bielawska, A., A. Maksimowska, and A. Sidarovich, editors. 2012. Warsaw: Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
Evaluation of cultural landscapes, memory, and identity; cultural history and heritage; and presentation of practical experience by leaders in Jewish heritage conservation and promotion in Central Europe. Also available in Polish, and as a pdf.
Jewish Cemeteries in the Classroom – An ESJF Guide
Esther Zyskina and Alexandra Fishel. 2020. Frankfurt: ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative.
Written specifically to serve as a manual for educators of middle and high school students, the guide complements the work ESJF does to survey and protect Jewish cemeteries primarily in central and eastern Europe. Presents introductory information to engage teachers and students with Jewish heritage and its preservation, using the history, art, and meaning of cemeteries and their headstones as a bridge to the multicultural past of five modern countries and more, including Ukraine. Supporting the development of classroom and field lesson plans, the guide offers suggested learning paths and practical exercises to interest and lead students in Jewish life cycle traditions, the Hebrew alphabet and its use in dating epitaphs, as well as the key symbols carved into many Jewish headstones. Context for teachers is provided in overview essays and in key references to support further study. Available online in Issuu as a free download, and in a limited run of printed copies.
Reclaiming Memory: Urban regeneration in the historic Jewish quarters of Central European cities
Murzyn-Kupisz, Monika, and Jacek Purchla, editors. 2009. Kraków, Poland: International Cultural Center.
Proceedings of an international conference held in Kraków in 2007 on the intersecting topics of memory, heritage, and the re-vitalization of urban spaces since the fall of Communism. Relates memory and identity, the real and the imaginary, and the dilemmas of rediscovering or reconstructing Jewish heritage where it ceased to exist for decades.
The Limits of Heritage
Jagodzińska, Katarzyna, and Jacek Purchla, eds.; International Cultural Center; Kraków, 2015.
The proceedings of the Second Heritage Forum of Central Europe review the state of heritage preservation policy, systems, and practice, at 25 years since the fall of Communism there. More than 40 essays on a wide range of topics including “whose heritage, what history, which heritage community?”
Shattered Spaces: Encountering Jewish Ruins in Postwar Germany and Poland
Meng, Michael; Harvard University Press; Cambridge, 2011.
Comparing urban spaces across the east-west “divide” in central Europe, the author considers how broken but surviving Jewish physical heritage, especially where local activists resisted Soviets aims to eliminate memory, forces modern city residents to confront the complex past and gain a more nuanced understanding of their altered world.
Preserving Jewish Heritage in Poland (Volume II, 2017)
Dziedziczak, Jan, Monika Krawczyk, Lesław Piszewski, Jarosław Sellin; Fundacja Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego; Warszawa, 2017.
Published on the 15th anniversary of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ), the album presents Polish Jewish heritage sites in space and time, and in text and photographs, along with essays by the Polish ministers of foreign affairs and of culture and national heritage, and a pointed perspective on who is responsible for Jewish material heritage. Although the organization and funding sources are different, FODŻ’s twinned efforts in preservation and education are useful examples for our Rohatyn program. In Polish and English.
Preserving Jewish Heritage in Poland (Volume I, 2012)
Kadlčík, Piotr, Monika Krawczyk, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Weronika Litwin, Małgorzata Omilanowska; Fundacja Ochrony Dziedzictwa Żydowskiego; Warszawa, 2012.
A status report on the 10th anniversary of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ), the album includes essays on the history of Jewish heritage preservation and the drive to preserve, along with descriptions and photographs of the Foundation’s projects. In Polish and English.
A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries
Menachemson, Nolan; Avotaynu; Bergenfield, New Jersey, 2007.
An encyclopedic but brief overview of Jewish cemeteries, with sections on interpretation of text and symbols on matzevot, a handful of famous cemeteries around the world, an extended list of burial places of famous Jews, and a brief section on cemetery preservation practice.
A Graveyard Preservation Primer
Strangstad, Lynette. Second edition, 2013. Lanham, Maryland, USA: AltaMira Press / AASLH.
Documentation, methods, materials, and ethics for graveyard conservation. Somewhat limited application outside the US, the text is nonetheless a model for development of cemetery preservation best practices in other geographies.
Matzevot for Everyday Use
Baksik, Łukasz, Joanna Tokarska-Bakir, Ewa Toniak, Jan Tomasz Gross, Agnieszka Kowalska. 2013. Czarne and Uptown Foundation.
Photographer Łukasz Baksik grapples with the residue of destroyed Jewish cemeteries in Poland, discovering recycled headstones used as construction materials in roads, buildings, parks, etc. Encountering an old matzevah used as a grindstone sparked his documentary photography project. In Polish and English.
Spurensuche (Searching for Traces)
Herrmann, Christian; reserv-art Verlag; Köln, 2015.
An album of black-and-white photographs of Jewish heritage sites in western Ukraine (former eastern Galicia and Bukovina), by the German photographer and blogger Christian Herrman of the site Vanished World. The photos function as visual essays on the state and concerns of Jewish material heritage (buildings and cemeteries) in the region. Rohatyn’s old Jewish cemetery is featured on the book’s cover.
In Fading Light / In schwindendem Licht
Herrmann, Christian; Lukas Verlag; Berlin, 2018.
An album of color photographs of Jewish heritage sites in 57 cities, towns, and villages of Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Hungary and Romania. A visual review of sites in ruin, rest, and renewal, with a handful of portraits of activists in Jewish life and heritage. Headstones recovered from city streets and returned to Rohatyn’s old Jewish cemetery are shown.
Rediscovering Traces of Memory: The Jewish Heritage of Polish Galicia
Webber, Jonathan; photographs by Chris Schwarz and Jason Francisco; Littman Library of Jewish Civilization; second edition; Liverpool, 2018.
A catalog of the permanent photographic exhibition of the Galicia Jewish Museum in Kraków. Combining thematic essays and detailed interpretations of the photographs, the book covers not only ruins and sites of massacre but also surviving (even vibrant) heritage as well as commemoration sites and images of Jewish revival.
Curated Decay: Heritage Beyond Saving
DeSilvey, Caitlin; University of Minnesota Press; Minneapolis, 2017.
A rumination on the cultural heritage trend away from “preservation at all costs” and toward alternate forms of care and engagement with heritage which allow for decay and disintegration. Through introductory and closing chapters which survey the literature of the movement and outline important questions, and specifically via chapters describing case studies (with successes, failures, and issues left unresolved), the author prompts consideration of alternate approaches and perhaps more nuanced thinking about managing heritage as a cultural resource.
Heritage and Transformation
Purchla, Jacek; International Cultural Center; Kraków, 2005.
An early text on the role of heritage in forming national identity, and on the tension between static heritage and dynamic political changes, as viewed from the perspective of post-communist Poland.
On the Web
A Guide to Jewish Cemetery Preservation in Western Ukraine
This website gathers and presents best practices, information resources (books, articles, web pages, videos), and summary reviews of case studies intended to support leaders, activists, and volunteers working to rehabilitate and preserve Jewish burial sites. The material is broad in scope but geographically focused on information relevant to the specific issues of Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in western Ukraine. The site includes both international academic/theoretical resources and practical advice on tools and methods from heritage leaders in the region. A key component of the website is a hyperlinked data set of identified (located and named) Jewish burial sites in western Ukraine aggregated and reviewed from several separate databases created by NGOs and individual investigators. The website is a project of Rohatyn Jewish Heritage, and was funded by an academic research grant from the Fulbright Program.
Jewish Heritage Europe
JHE is a communication and information portal with news and guidance on Jewish heritage preservation across Europe. Serves as an exchange between organizations and individuals at all levels. Includes a wealth of past and current information on projects in Ukraine, including news articles on our work in Rohatyn going back to 2012, as well as resource lists of books and websites categorized by topic and by country. Created to support the objectives of the 2009 Bratislava Statement on preservation of historic European Jewish heritage. Sponsor of a 2013 international seminar and workshop on Managing Jewish Immovable Heritage in Europe, which included a presentation by Marla Raucher Osborn on the connection between genealogy and heritage preservation in Rohatyn.
US National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
A project of the US Department of the Interior managed by the National Park Service (which also manages many American national historical monuments), the NCPTT is a research, technology, and training organization devoted to technical issues in heritage preservation. The Center conducts research and testing in its own laboratories, provides training around the U.S., and supports research and training projects at universities and nonprofits. NCPTT aims to advance current preservation practice by exploring developing science and technology in other fields and applying them to issues in cultural resources management. The NCPTT website provides free, instantly downloadable research reports from the Center’s hundreds of prior research grants, and provides technical expertise on a variety of specialized scientific interests. Especially applicable to our project are the NCPTT’s core disciplines of engineering, historic landscapes, and materials conservation.
Association for Graveyard Studies
A North American non-profit working to “foster appreciation of the cultural significance of gravestones and burial grounds through their study and preservation.” Publishes an annual journal (“Markers”; past issues are available online) and maintains an online knowledge center on preservation methods.
U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
An independent agency of the US government, the commission is chartered to identify, report on, and cooperate with governments in Eastern and Central Europe on the preservation of cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens, particularly endangered properties. The commission is active in Ukraine. The cemetery data from the original research has been transferred to an online database now called the IAJGS International Jewish Cemetery Project; in the section on Ukraine, the Rohatyn old and new Jewish cemeteries plus one of the mass graves are listed. The new site includes instructions for submitting new or updated cemetery information.
The Matzevah Foundation
A US-based Christian non-profit organization working since 2010 in Jewish cemeteries in Poland, The Matzevah Foundation (TMF) puts its three principles into action every year: Remembering, Restoring, Reconciling. TMF partners with Polish Jewish heritage organizations, local volunteers, and volunteers from the US and elsewhere who self-fund their own travel, to clean Jewish cemeteries and restore matzevot, monuments, fences, and the intangible connections between descendant Jews and the current residents of towns where these cemeteries survive. TMF has generously shared their heritage preservation expertise and partnership strategies with us at conferences and in meetings, as well as on-site working with them on their projects.
The Magurycz Association is an informal group of stonemasons who have worked for 30 years to preserve stone markers and monuments in disused cemeteries in Poland and neighboring countries; much of their work has focused on the rescue of abandoned cemeteries founded by ethnic groups who were displaced by the Soviets after WWII (including Lemkos and Boykos with ties to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic church). Association members have developed expertise in the conservation of stone art monuments in Central Europe; they engage and train volunteers in new projects each year. Also with an active interest page on facebook.
Faina Petryakova Scientific Center for Judaica and Jewish Art
A Lviv-based Jewish heritage organization which has worked in western Ukraine for more than ten years, the Center has successfully registered a number of cemeteries as Ukrainian regional and/or national heritage, and has effectively redirected several building projects which would have encroached on cemeteries. The Center also aims to create and support education programs to broaden understanding of Ukrainian Jewish heritage and history, both in Ukraine and in western countries.
Jewish Heritage UK
Although distinct in its coverage of heritage from some issues particular to east-central Europe, the website and administration of this heritage organization in the United Kingdom are useful models for managing productive cemetery and building preservation programs with very limited staff.
Ten Stars Project (Revitalization of Jewish Monuments in the Czech Republic)
Documents a highly-successful public-private synagogues restoration project, now completed. An excellent example of cooperation between a regional Jewish community and museums with the support of local, national, and EU governments.
Center for Jewish Art
The Center for Jewish Art (CJA), a research institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studies and documents Jewish visual culture in more than 40 countries. A key outcome of their effort is the visual database named for their founder, the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art. Along with household and ritual objects, the database also includes documentation on European Jewish cemeteries, as well as research, architectural drawings, descriptions, and photographs of surviving synagogue and other community buildings (often re-purposed or in disuse). An online map of historic synagogues of Europe provides a geographical search tool to the database.
ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative
Created and funded as a Germany-based program with field offices in Kyiv in 2015, ESJF works to define, protect, and preserve Jewish cemeteries in central and eastern Europe, through projects which survey the sites and construct cemetery walls with locking gates, along with an initial clearing and cleaning of the cemetery grounds. To date, more than a hundred cemeteries have been fenced, and many more have been surveyed and documented. Partnering with government and NGO organizations, ESJF is also developing efficient methods and materials for site work which respects Halakhic law, scientific approaches, local regulations, and cemetery neighbors. ESJF maintains an online map of its project sites, and an online map of its survey sites.
Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland
A Polish non-profit organization which records and databases inscriptions read and translated from matzevot in Jewish cemeteries across Poland. Operating informally since 2006 and as a foundation since 2012, the team has developed reliable methods for reading and interpreting Jewish epitaphs in the region’s styles and materials. The database is open and free to the public; a cooperative agreement with JRI-Poland extends visibility of the data to family historians tracing their roots to Polish communities.
A photo-blog site documenting the traces of Jewish life remaining in central and eastern Europe, in neglected cemeteries, ruined or repurposed synagogues, empty pockets on doorposts, and other visual signs of once-vibrant communities. Part travel diary, part commemoration, the blog aims to encourage people in “the rescue of a heritage we all share.”
A cultural history blog site with particular focus on the traces of physical heritage of the 19th and early 20th centuries in what was then Galicia, today southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. Organized by categories and fully searchable, the posts create a growing online encyclopedia featuring many of the author’s own discoveries and photographs, with historical maps, postcards, and other images shared from other sites. Delightful to browse, and useful as a pocket guide for planning a visit to the region. The site’s reading list, while of course overlapping significantly with ours, offers many other titles to expand one’s perspective on the region and to make new discoveries. In English, with many posts in Ukrainian.
State Register of Immovable Monuments of Ukraine
The register catalogs significant cultural property in Ukraine. Wikipedia has a lengthy description in Ukrainian and a much shorter English description. Wikimedia Commons has images and some descriptions of registered monuments and buildings across Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Photos of heritage monuments in Rohatyn (in English and Ukrainian) are also grouped; many of those photos were submitted by us. Pictured among the Rohatyn monuments are the beit midrash, the Ukrainian and the former Polish gymnasiums, all of the surviving historic churches, the former sokol building, and many of the market square buildings where Jewish families once lived.
Jewish Galicia & Bukovina
A website and non-profit organization ‘dedicated to the documentation, preservation and educational dissemination of the history and rich cultural heritage of the Jewish communities of Galicia and Bukovina.’ Encyclopedic in scope, the website combines articles on the Jewish history of the region with databases of heritage sites, some quite detailed. The cemeteries database includes an entry for Rohatyn’s old Jewish cemetery, and a search for members of the Rohatyn Jewish community yields results even out of town, for example this matzevah for a Rohatyn Jew buried in Solotvin.
A one-man blog and information website focused on gravestone conservation, with majority examples and techniques applicable to North America but with general methods and some materials useful anywhere. A lengthy, useful glossary of terms plus a FAQ and a page of links to other organizations, suppliers, training, and reference cemeteries. Especially useful are the numerous how-to articles with detailed issues and strategies. The website has not been updated in a couple of years, but the archived info is a helpful reference.
For more references and links related to work on Jewish history and heritage in western Ukraine and the nearby regions, see our main page on this topic.