Statement of Gideon Taylor, chair of operations of the World Jewish Restitution Organization and co-chair of The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODZ) regarding Jewish cemetery in Warsaw
New York, January 25 – The World Jewish Restitution Organization welcomes the Polish government commitment of PLN $100 ($28 million) from the national budget for the restoration and preservation of Okopowa in Warsaw, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the world. The measure passed the Sejm overwhelmingly and was signed into law by President Duda on December 20.
Approximately 250,000 Jews are buried in Okopowa, including many Nazi victims forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. The funds will be held as an endowment and the income will be used to clean, restore, and preserve the cemetery. These funds will greatly assist the Warsaw Jewish Community in its ongoing work to preserve the cemetery.
We appreciate the commitment of Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski to ensuring this important financial commitment. We also thank Magdelna Gawin, the Deputy Minister of Culture and National Heritage for her intensive work to protect Jewish cemeteries.
The measure passed shortly after another Jewish cemetery in Siemiatycze was set to be excavated for private development. Polish authorities blocked construction on the site, secured the cemetery and adjacent lands, and launched an investigation.
We will continue our efforts to ensure that Jewish cemeteries across Poland are protected.
More information on Okopowa can be found here.