Saturday, November 20, 2010

An Unusual Collaboration Unveils Lost Radom Tombstones

 When I visited my ancestral town of Radom, Poland, we had an opportunity to visit the Jewish cemetery.  Just a few tombstones remained intact with broken portions embedded in the wall that surrounds the cemetery.  The Germans had used many of the tombstones to build a runway and to pave a road to the airport. 

I recently learned an interesting story about the Radom cemetery and efforts throughout Poland to restore Jewish cemeteries. Prisoners from 50 Polish jails have volunteered to participate in a project to restore Jewish cemeteries.  When the Israeli Prison Service learned of these efforts they began a collaboration with their counterparts in Poland. Brian Anderson, a former Brit who retired to Israel, became aware of these efforts and raised the funds for this project to continue.  

Haim Kincler, head of the Israeli Radom Society, made a fascinating discovery on one of his visits to Radom.  A Polish tombstone maker had moved 70 of the most elaborate tombstones to safety hoping to sell them at a later time.  This plan was thwarted by the Communist regime which prohibited citizens from holding anything of historical value. Many years later the sons of the tombstone maker returned the tombstones to the city with the understanding that they would be showcased.  With the support of the Polish cemetery project, a monument was recently unveiled which incorporates the 70 tombstones.  Thus an important piece of history has been preserved.  I am making some inquiries to see if I can secure photos of these tombstones for use on the Radom Shtetlink as they may well represent family members of those who are researching family from Radom.  You can read more about this at Vos is Neias? (What’s News) along with pictures of the monument.

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