This year in june we were planning to organize a 7 days cleaning and renovation workshop with volontiers on Jewish cemetry on Castle Hill in Będzin (podzamcze street) and Jewish cemetry in Żarki. Workshops were going to be conducted by one of the best experts in Poland on old gravestones preservation – Szymon Modrzejewski (Magurycz associacion). He has 20 years of experience in such a work. During the workshop many macevot could be cleaned, raised, and even fixed broken parts. Last year we had workshop in Gliwice with him and result was that we cleaned and raised 10 macevot and it was done in just one day. It gives a idea what can be achived during 7 days.
We succesfully completed a grant application in National Institute of Heriatage (NID – Department of Polish Ministry of Culture) for 2 renovation workshops on Jewish cemetries – 7 days in Będzin and 7 days in Żarki. The whole project will cost 34 000 PLN of which 27 000 was to be given by NID, and 7 000 was given by us – Brama Cukermana Foundation.
For signing a contract with NID we will needed a permission of the official caretaker of the cemetries. Both cemetries – in Żarki and Będzin are supose to under care of the Local County Government (Starostwo Powiatowe). In Żarki (Myszków county) we had no problem in getting that permission. However in Bedzin we recived an official refuse because „premission was already given to other organization”. In our opinion it is completly false argument because there shouldn’t be a problem in giving permission to both organizations even if on the same time – there is anough space on that cemetry that they would not disturb each other. We ask ourself: why the public administration is acting against the public interest by forcing to cancel the project of renovation the neglected cemetry – an important cultural heritage? It’s really hard to explain any reason behind that answer.
However we don’t understand the decision of Starostwo we need to accept. It mean we have to cancel our project this year not only in Będzin but also i Żarki. It’s a very difficult situation not only for us but also for volontiers who came from abroad to participate in workshops.
We asked officialy Będzin County Government (Starostwo Powiatowe) what is the name of that “other organization” which asked and get a permission to work on Jewish cemetry in Będzin instead of us and we just recieved the anser saying that “other organization” is Foundation “Rutka Laskier” and Adam Szydłowski.
We will continue to ask questions and publish it here.