Volunteers from multiple countries are working together as part of an international team cleaning up and restoring one of the world’s largest Jewish cemeteries.
In operation since 1891, large parts of Budapest’s Kozma Street Cemetery have fallen into disarray. Many section have long been neglected and have gone back to nature.
The team, consisting of volunteers from Israel, the US, Canada and Belarus, aim to restore the cemetery while studying the history of the Budapest Jewish community, reported Euronews.
"We are a delegation of volunteers from all around the world. We are from Israel, the United States, Canada, Belarus. And we are here to restore the cemetery, clean it up, as you can see, and also learn about the Jewish community of Budapest," Israeli volunteer Chani Kolan told the news outlet.
The team has restored 20 percent of the cemetery so far.
Kolan also has a familial connection to Hungary. Her great-grandparents immigrated to the US from Hungary before the Holocaust.
“So I learned also about my roots,” she said.
Friends of the Kozma Street Jewish Cemetery member Marc Pintér said that the cemetery’s larges size – 77 hectares, making it one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world – means that the restoration job will take time.
The cemetery is home to over 300,000 graves. Many of those buried there do not have any living descendants.
It is also known for its monuments, including sculpted human figures and elaborate mausoleums in the art nouveau style, which is unusual for a Jewish cemetery.
The cemetery continues to serve the Hungarian Jewish community.