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THE ACTIVITIES OF THE FOUNDATION

TThe Foundation Monumentum Iudaicum Lodzense undertakes variable tasks to rescue and save cultural heritage of Lodz Jews, to bring them back into memory and strengthen it.

From the very beginning of our activities, the Jewish Cemetery in Lodz at Bracka Street, the biggest one in Europe, was our first priority. In the old part of the Cemetery the streets and alleys were laid out, cleaned and marked with information plaques.

In 1998, thanks to donation from Polish-German Foundation, we began the maintenance works on the Jarocinski’s family grave, which were accomplished in 2002. From these means also we made the conservation of the Silberstein’s family grave. This year we started, as the first stage, the maintenance works for the renovation of the Poznanski’s family mausoleum. And the money we received from the Polish government in 2000 we erected the cemetery wall along Zagajnikowa Street.

Thanks to the money received from the Conservator of Monuments of the Municipality of Lodz, from the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz in Israel, Jewish Community in Lodz, from Mr. Yehuda Widawski from Tel Aviv and other private donors, collected by the Foundation, we started cleaning the Cemetery by removing the weeds and overgrowed vegetation, and renovating antique grave monuments of historical and artistic value. The Foundation initiates research and popularization of the Jewish Cemetery in Lodz and looks for donors for these projects.

Thanks to the generous donation of Mr. Josef Buchman from Frankfurt am Main, we created in 2005 a computer database of people buried in the Cemetery at the Bracka Street and the copy of it was given to the Jewish Community in Lodz. Also from the same donation we started to develop the Cemetery web site, where everybody will be able to find the place of burial of certain person.

In 2004 thanks to donation of Mr. Michael Traison and other donors, the Foundation put several matzevot on the graves of those persons worthy of merit, who died in the Ghetto Lodz. This work will be continued.

In the same year, together with the Organization of Former Residents of Lodz and the graduates of Josef Ab Junior High School, the family grave of Mr. Ab, which was totally destroyed, was renovated. The matzeva donated Mr. Jan Potz.

With the financial help of the City Head Conservator and private donors also in 2004 we established a memorial monument on the external wall of the cemetery, consisted of the matzevas removed from the part of the Cemetery taken for the extension of Zagajnikowa Street. Also here the work will continue.

The most important activity of the Foundation in 2004 however was participation in the organization of commemoration ceremonies of the 60 Anniversary of the Liquidation of Ghetto Lodz. The considerable part of the Ghetto Field was cleaned, a memorial stone commemorating the extermination of Jews of Lodz was erected and the laying out and marking of the quarters on this part of the Cemetery started. These works are also in progress. According to the documentation gathered and worked out by the Foundation, the soldiers of Cahal (Israeli Army) during their visits in Lodz in 2005, put 400 plaques with names on the graves of people buried in the Ghetto Field, declaring that they will continue their work.

The Foundation also contributed in 1999 to establishing of a special exhibition room in the Historical Museum of Lodz in memory of Jan Karski, a distinguished resident of Lodz, courier and emissary, who during the German occupation several times delivered Polish Underground’s reports to the Polish government in exile and alarmed the Jewish organizations in United States about the extermination of Jews, taking place at that time in occupied Poland.

In 2004 the Foundation cooperated with the Museum of Independence Traditions in organizing the exhibition about the liquidation of the Ghetto Lodz, and with the Museum of Cinematography we founded one of the prizes for the Mass Media Festival called “Man in Threat”. In 2005 together with the Four Cultures Festival we organized the Kletzmer Music concert during the action Colorful Tolerance and a concert of Cantor Benzion Miller, commemorating the Holocaust Day.

The Foundation actively reacted on the appeal of the Institute of Tolerance by supporting the youths by removal of the anti-Semitic graffiti from the walls of the city and bought the paint for the action “We mark out the borders of the Ghetto” in 2004.

Among the tasks undertaken by the Foundation the popularization of the history of Lodz Jewish society takes an essential place. Among the more important publications that published either by the financial support from the Foundation or with her substantial cooperation are such titles like “Poles, Germans and Jews in Lodz” edited by professor doctor Pawel Samus, “Ghetto Lodz. Vademecum” written by Julian Baranowski and the album “Jews of Lodz”.

In 2004 the Foundation together with State Archive in Lodz and the "Oficyna Bibliofilow" Printing House published the book “Viennese Jews in the Ghetto Lodz” written by Julian Baranowski, in 2005 a publication commemorating the anniversary of Arnold Mostowicz's death, simultaneously asking the Lodz City Council to name one of the streets leading to the Survivor’s Park, created in 2004, after Arnold Mostowicz. We also proposed that two of the new streets carry the names of Josef Ab, a pedagogue who died in the Ghetto and Abram Cytryn, a young poet murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944.

Cooperating with Cultural and Social Association of Jews – Lodz division, Jewish Culture Center at the Jewish Community in Lodz and other social and cultural institutions the Foundation organized in 2003 – 2005 several shows popularizing the history of Jews of Lodz and their culture, took part in a film production about Artur Szyk and co-organized an exhibition about the work of Artur Szyk and a film show in "Polonia" cinema.

Apart from its own activities the Foundation supports activities of others. It helps the donators to put the memory plaques for their relatives on the cemetery wall in the Bracka Street (if there is no possibility of finding their graves, or because their family members were killed in concentration camps).
We help to find the "roots" for the descendants of the Jews of Lodz. We also participate in organizing the visits of distinguish guests in Lodz. So we were pleased to extend our hospitality to the United States ambassador in Poland Mr. Viktor Ash or mayor of Tel-Aviv Mr. Ron Huldai.

Nevertheless the main goal of the Foundation Board for the present term is to end the already started in 2004 cleaning works of the Ghetto Field, where the people who died in Ghetto were buried, creating full photographic documentation of remained graves which are being destroyed by the nature and time and forming a new actual map of the cemetery with the all its quarters accurately marked, which will help to find the exact burial place of every person.


 

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