A Historically Cleansing Act: Polish Students Clean Jewish Cemetery, Learn Hebrew To Read Headstones


Polish students in the town of Zalewo in northern Poland cleaned the local Jewish cemetery last week, according to a JTA report on Monday.

The project was initiated by local activists who tend to the Jewish cemetery in the town. The activists invited an employee of the Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Krzysztof Bielawski, to teach Hebrew to the town’s students to enable them to read the Hebrew writing on the cemetery’s headstones.

Last week, the students began cleaning the cemetery together with local priest Michal Bika and school deputy director Elzbieta Miedzinska. The students collected garbage from the cemetery area, washed the headstones and trimmed the surrounding shrubbery.

The projects were co-funded by the Polish American Freedom Foundation.

The town of Zalewo was part of Germany before World War II and was home to about a dozen Jewish families. Although the town was almost completely demolished in the course of the war, some of the tombstones in the Jewish cemetery survived. There are currently about 3,000 people residing in the town.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)