Thursday, October 21, 2010

Poland -- fascinating exhibit in Warsaw

by Ruth Ellen Gruber

A fascinating photographic exhibit opens in Warsaw next week -- it's about Jewish tombstones used for purposes other than marking a Jewish grave.

The opening of "Matzevot of Everyday Use" will take place at the Center for Contemporary Art, ul. Jazdow, at 7 p.m.  on Oct. 28 and run for a month.
Łukasz Baksik is the author of the photographs and the initiator of the exhibition. For many months, he has been searching for and taking photos of matzevot which had been taken from Jewish cemeteries and used as paving, building materials, grinding wheels, hones and graves at Christian cemeteries.
‘I have investigated what has happened with Jewish tombstones,’ said the author. ‘I found a household with a cowshed built from matzevot in the town center just near the police commissariat, fire brigade premises and the church. I also came across Catholic tombstones from which one had forgotten to rub off Hebrew letters. I talked to people who, being aware of what they had in their yards, did not consider it as something improper. I discovered the history of some relatives who were reunited after many years thanks to the one matzevah.’
I have seen many examples of this on my own travels.

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