Thursday, September 11, 2008

More on Jewish Heritage in Poland

A new post on Sam Gruber's Jewish monuments blog reminds me that I forgot to point out in my previous post the first comprehensive inventory of Jewish heritage sites in Poland that Sam oversaw in the mid-1990s for the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad.

Jan Jagielski, who will be speaking on Jewish cemeteries at the conference next week in Zdunska Wola, and Lena Bergman, now director of the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, directed and coordinated that survey, which was carried out through visits by about 40 researchers to nearly 1200 sites around the country.

I first met Jan when I lived in Warsaw in the early 1980s -- I was the correspondent then for United Press International. I got to know him as part of the so-called "Jewish Flying University," a semi-clandestine group of young Jews and non-Jews who were trying to teach themselves everything they could about Jewish culture, religion, traditions and even memory: things that essentially were taboo during most of the Communist era.

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