FJCP is working diligently to complete a comprehensive guidebook specifically for descendants restoring their ancestral cemeteries in Poland. While the guidebook will be released later in 2023, we will include interim information in our website. The impetus for this Guidebook is that although there has been an accelerating pace of cemetery restoration projects in Poland over the past twenty years, the current rate is inadequate to sufficiently address the ongoing loss and deterioration of the 1000+ remaining restorable cemeteries. If the pace of cemetery restoration is to increase we believe that descendants need to take primarily responsibility for completing the task at hand. We believe that a guidebook primarily written for descendants best addresses this.
In the meantime, we share a Guidebook written by one of our members a few years ago which was groundbreaking as it was the first such work regarding cemetery restoration in Poland. It is based upon his experiences, information gathering from others, and exhaustive review by others. As you peruse this guidebook, please keep in mind it will be superseded by the FJCP Guidebook.
FJCP will help you navigate these interim resources and the broad task of cemetery restoration.
Scroll through the full document below or use the pop out feature in the upper right hand corner to open the PDF in a new browser window.
Resources and Contacts
A Town Called BrzostekTomek Wisniewski’s films on cemetery restoration and broader Jewish issues in Poland
Kaplan, Karen. 2014. Descendants of Rajgród: Learning to Forgive. Manora Press. 224 pp.
Kurtz, Glenn. 2015. Three minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. 432 pp.
Oren, Dan A. 2018. The Wedding Photo. Rimmon Press. 222 pp.
Steinman, Louise. 2013. The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish Jewish Reconciliation. Beacon Press books. 223 pp.
Wisniewski, Tomasz. 2009. The Lost World of Small-Town Jewish Cemeteries. Instytut Wydawniczy Kreator. 145 pp+.
Białystok Jewish Museum:
Chief Rabbi of Poland (Michael Schudrich):
European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF):
Forum for Dialogue:
Their work focuses on raising awareness of the histories of Jews in Poland, the way these histories were conveyed to descendants of Polish Jews and facilitating bonds between Jews and the country of their ancestors.
Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries (FDJC)/Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI):
Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ):
Friends of Jewish Heritage Poland (also contains information on several specific Jewish cemetery restoration projects):
Guidelines of the Rabbinical Commission for Cemeteries (available in multiple languages):
National Heritage Board of Poland (also contains information of Jewish cemeteries in Poland, in order to reach this information one needs to enter subpage: “sites” then “immovable monuments” and then “Jewish cemetery”):
For information on a specific cemetery use:
https://zabytek.pl/en/obiekty/name of the city-cmentarz-zydowski including the specific site instead of “name of city"
International Jewish Cemetery Project:
Jewish Historical Institute (JHI):
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry:
JewishGen Family Finder (useful for finding other descendants):
Jewish Heritage Europe:
The Matzevah Foundation:
Yahad In Unum (information and maps on mass graves):
Examples of Cemetery Restoration Project websites: Białystok:
Jewish Cemetery Restoration in Eastern Europe:
Jewish Cemetery Restoration in Poland: