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  II Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Marii Konopnickiej w Zamościu  
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"To Bring Memory Back" edition 2006-2007

USTRZYKI DOLNE - Zespół Szkół Publicznych Nr 1, Gimnazjum nr 1 linia

Who are we

Public School Complex, Middle School in Ustrzyki Dolne;
The project is being realized as after-class activity by the students from 2 and 3 grades and the teacher of Polish language, Mrs Edyta Gula.


Jewish community in our town

The beginning of Jewish settlement dates back to 17th century. In his book entitled „Jews in Podkarpackie region” Andrzej Potocki describes number of Jewish community in town: „In 1765 in Ustrzyki there were 162 Jews, amidst them 70 adults. They’ve had a rabbi too. Before 1777 a kahal was established. In 1785 Ustrzyki had 190 Jewish residents (…) In 1870 Jewish Community in the town reached 926 people, administered a synagogue, cemetery and school which was attended by 30 students. Kahal employed two rabbis. In the eighties of 19th century Jews were the majority in town. For general 1824 residents there were 1146 Israelites.” In the beginning of 19th century the Jews were 61 % of population of Ustrzyki. World War II annihilated the community. Many people were shot in the streets of the town. Some were killed in transit camp in Zaslaw, or death camps in Sobibor and Belzec. Today only a building of synagogue (now Public Library with preserved fragment of the elevation) and Jewish cemetery on the hill above the town bring back the memories about the Jews.

What we do in the project

In second edition of the „To Bring Memory Back” program we continue cooperation with Tourist Association “Bieszczady Mountains” in Ustrzyki Dolne (Stowarzyszenie Turystyczne „Bieszczady”). Stowarzyszenie invited us to cooperate in the Project „Our Promised Land”, implemented from the Batory’s Foundation program „For tolerance. What’s common/what’s different” (from funds of the Ford Foundation with support of FODZ). From September to November we cleaned the Jewish cemetery near our town. The cemetery in Ustrzyki is small, located very picturesque on a hill above the town, on bank of Strwiaz River. It was a completely neglected place, accessible only in early spring and late autumn – totally overgrown with weeds, grass and thicket. Concluding from garbage (bottles, cans and even signs of lighting fires) left there the cemetery was visited mainly in „feasting” purposes. On a beautiful larch tree children have built a house, making the cemetery their own attractive, wild playground. We have not observed however any signs of vandalism, any purposefully damaged matzevot. The cleaning of the cemetery was done concordantly to directives of Rabbinic Commission. Our activity yielded effects very quickly – whole terrain was cleaned up, thicket and trees trimmed and branches taken away. (In spring we will be fighting with weeds and start mowing grass).  Next we participated in works of the Association on cataloguing matzevot. On the cemetery 237 matzevot were catalogued, and about 50 tombstones were left unlabelled. This way we acknowledged that on the Jewish cemetery in Ustrzyki there are about 300 matzevot. The oldest are from 19th century. Caring for the cemetery is not the only one way of bringing back the memory. Perfect supplement to our work was a lecture delivered along with multimedia presentation “Symbols on matzevot” by historian Andrzej Szczerbicki in School Complex Nr 1 within the project “Our Promised Land”. Now at school we try to read the inscriptions from photographed by ourselves. Gained abilities will be needed when we become guides for our friends from elementary school and Junior High on “Jewish Heritage Route” in Ustrzyki Dolne. We also plan to invite students from other schools of our region, participating in „To Bring Memory Back”. Tourist Association “Bieszczady Mountains” in Ustrzyki Dolne (Stowarzyszenie Turystyczne "Bieszczady" Ustrzyki Dolne) marked the route to the Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is located very picturesque but way of approach from the town was totally unmarked.  Even the residents often have had trouble with showing the right way. Now the route is marked so well that the way up is easy and information tablets saying there is a Jewish cemetery near the town are in the town centre. Cleaning – management works were finalized with posting an information tablet on the cemetery, with few basic facts written in three languages and presenting photo exhibition in Town’s Culture Centre. We participated in opening of the route, we helped with heaving the post and we were invited to the opening of the exhibition. We informed students of our school about the opening and we helped in guiding on it by telling our friends about photos gathered for showing and history of Jews from the region. We would like to thank Jacek Łeszega, Andrzej Szczerbicki and Arkadiusz Komski for letting us cooperate within the Project „Our Promised Land” – we have certainly learned a lot. Every stage of our activity will be very helpful with realizing four further plans in project” To Bring Memory Back”. We invite you to see our galleries!

What we are going to do next

- Caring for the Jewish cemetery in cooperation with Tourist Association “Bieszczady Mountains” in
- Ustrzyki Dolne (Ustrzyckie Stowarzyszenie Turystyczne „Bieszczady”);
- Organizing a route „Tracing Jewish Heritage” for elementary and Junior High schools;
- Jewish Culture Week  at our school;
- Cooperation with Museum – Place of Remembrance in Belzec (lectures, trip, gathering evidence);
- Who will bring memory back? – interviews with residents of our town and vicinity – reconstruction of the history of Jews from Ustrzyki Dolne; 


Who is helping us

Tourist Association “Bieszczady Mountains” in Ustrzyki Dolne (Ustrzyckie Stowarzyszenie Turystyczne "Bieszczady"), Museum-Place of Remembrance in Bełżec (Muzeum-Miejsce Pamięci w Bełżcu), Town’s Culture Centra (MDK) and MBP in Ustrzyki Dolne.


Recommended links


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