RESTORATION OF THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN MELNIK ON DOBROVSKÉHO STREET
Summary of project results
Before World War II, more than seven million Jews lived in Central and Eastern Europe and inhabited towns and villages for centuries there. Jewish burial sites provided direct physical evidence of this presence. Traces of many of these cemeteries have been lost as the result of the annihilation of the Jewish communities in the Holocaust, which left many European towns virtually bereft of a Jewish presence. After decades of this void, many cemeteries have tragically been either desecrated or compromised for agricultural, commercial, or private use. Those that did remain relatively intact are suffering from neglect and decay, a situation unacceptable by Jewish law as honoring the dignity of the deceased has always been among the primary duties of Jewish communities. The project was set up with the core objective of protecting and preserving Jewish cemetery site in Mělník through its restoration which is very important for the long history of the city and for the history of the Jewish Community. The rehabilitation and preservation of the Jewish cemetery represented a complex project that involved combined efforts of various experts from the municipality, suppliers and the Jewish community itself. Agreement had to be reached with a local bakery owner to allow the construction of an access path to the cemetery. Restoration works involved reconstruction of walls around the boundaries of cemetery sites, with a placement of a locking gate within the wall structure and a general cleaning of the site. Works also focused on restoring the interior of the cemetery by repairing and re-erecting the gravestones, thus restoring the honor to the deceased and simultaneously preserving the genealogical information contained in the cemetery. Ensuring the safety and upkeep of the restored cemetery thought long-term maintenance has been emphasized. A contract was signed between the city of Mělník and the Jewish Community entrusted with the protection and upkeep of the cemetery. The project has helped to raise public awareness of the Jewish cultural landmarks in the city of Mělník. The site has been integrated into the cultural touristic routes of the city and promoted in promotional leaflets, whereby the visibility of the site would be increased.
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