24 February 2010
The Polish government has ordered the municipality of Przemysl, in southeastern Poland, to return its ancient Jewish graveyard to the Jewish community. Authorities in Przemysl in took over the cemetery, which dates back to the 16th century, after the end of the Second World War. At a meeting last week, the city was ordered by the government’s Regulatory Commission to turn over the cemetery to the Jewish community, the ‘Jerusalem Post’ reports. For centuries the cemetery served as a burial place for the Jews of Przemysl and neighboring towns.
The decision by the commission, which resolves claims regarding Jewish communal property, came after years of negotiations. Przemysl was once home to about 20,000 Jews, most of whom were murdered in the Holocaust.
The Warsaw-based Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland has led efforts to secure the cemetery and will now restore the site, which is overgrown, damaged and not fenced. It was severely vandalized by the Nazis, who used Jewish gravestones to pave roads.
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