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linia 2005-10-25 Bialystok

Foundation representatives and Ms. Lucy Lisowska, a Jewish resident of Bialystok, met with the Bialystok authorities on 27 October 2005 to discuss the planned works at two of the Jewish cemeteries in Bialystok. The cemetery at Wschodnia Street, where Matzevot still stand, requires urgent construction of the wall separating it from the Catholic cemetery in order to eliminate massive trash dumping on the Jewish cemetery and car traffic through the “short cut” road. It will also prevent stealing of the tombstones, which is an ongoing problem.

During our visit to the cemetery we noticed Matzevot pilled up on the side of the illegal road – ready for pick up. The Historic Monuments Authority was notified and the Matzevot were moved toward the main area of the cemetery. Our Foundation has already secured the technical documentation for the construction of the wall and the City will co-operate in the formal procedures when we will apply for the building permit. The estimated cost of the wall construction is $25,000 USD.

There is also positive development with the cemetery at Bema Street (also known as the Cholera Cemetery, which now is used as a parking lot for the Social Security [ZUS] building. The City has changed the local zoning plan to designate this area as a Jewish cemetery. The City will construct a suitable commemoration and the parking lot will no longer exist on that place. This is a very important step, because the site cannot be used for any other purpose. The new plans for the site will be prepared in consultation with Jewish organizations in Poland, Israel and the United States, and it may also be possible to build a larger monument commemorating the Jews of Bialystok.

Ms. Lucy Lisowska, who lives in Bialystok, is very active in monitoring the situation on a daily basis. In Canada and the United States, the commemoration effort is coordinated by Mr. Mark Halpern, who can be contacted at bialystoker@comcast.net.

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