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Pre-Holocaust Dead ‘Not Forgotten’

Jewish youth pay tribute to pre-Holocaust community with cemetery repair project in Poland.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 8/2/2012, 11:10 AM

Bnei Akiva volunteer repairs tombstone
Bnei Akiva volunteer repairs tombstone
Bnei Akiva

Jewish youth with Bnei Akiva have been repairing a neglected cemetery from pre-war Europe in memory of the thriving Jewish communities wiped out in the Holocaust.

The youth, from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, were inspired to act after touring concentration camps. “After a week of seeing the destruction of countless Jewish communities, we were able to spend some time helping to preserve the memories of those who once lived there,” said volunteer Justin Gillman.

“In a small way, we were able to tell the dead ‘We have not forgotten you,’” said program director jonny Lipczer.

The group chose the cemetery in Kalisz, Poland. The town was home to thousands of Jews prior to the Holocaust, and is now home to just ten.

Among those who once lived in Kalisz was Rabbi Chaim Elazar Wax, author of the Nefesh Chaya, who was active in promoting settlement of the land of Israel.

The group of volunteers is taking part in a “hachshara” year in Israel.