Slutsk Jewish headstones moved to safe location

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The Together Plan’s operation to rescue headstones from the dismantled Jewish cemetery of Slutsk, Belarus has reached a new milestone, with the recovered headstones transported to a safe enclosure for storage and cleaning. Protected from loss and damage, we have been able to count the headstones for the first time – and no fewer than 198 precious monuments to Slutsk’s lost Jewish heritage have been unearthed and rescued, as well as a number of smaller fragments.

Now, The Together Plan and the project’s sponsors, the Zeliger Foundation – named for a Jewish citizen of Bobruisk who risked his freedom to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in his hometown, whose relatives are now continuing his work – can begin to plan the project’s second phase. Culminating in the building of a memorial, we plan to create a varied programme of activities for community members of all ages, helping to engage them with their Jewish identity and their community and transforming memory of the past into a vibrant future for the community.

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Le Voyage de Fanny: The Together Plan International Film Festival

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  • Finchley Reform Synagogue
    101 Fallow Court Avenue, London N12 0BE
    Show on map
  • Thursday 15th June at 7:30pm

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  • £10 per film / £22.50 season ticket
  • 20% concession discount available

Book Now

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On Thursday 15th June, The Together Plan presents the second screening of its inaugural International Film Festival: Le Voyage de Fanny. Sensitive, thought-provoking and powerful, Le Voyage de Fanny tells the story of a group of schoolchildren who must undertake a dangerous journey across Europe to escape Nazi persecution. Inspired by a true story, the film follows twelve-year-old Fanny, who is given the task of leading 28 of her fellow pupils at a French boarding school to safety in Italy.

A compelling juxtaposition of childhood innocence with the horrors of war, Le Voyage de Fanny tells the inspiring true story of a twelve-year-old French girl given the task of saving her classmates from Nazi persecution. Managing to portray the horror and brutality of the Nazi regime through inference, tension and superb performances without the need for gratuitous and upsetting violence, this film is a must-see for all the family (age 11+).

This deeply affecting and mesmerising story is perfectly pitched, and the young cast are outstanding in their portrayal of bewildered innocence, alternating with the joy of responsibility when a moment suddenly and unexpectedly presents itself. Its warning from history feels especially apt in today’s troubled times.

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Throughout 2017, The Together Plan is showing four screenings of carefully selected films from Poland, France, Belarus and Germany on the theme of ‘heroes’. The films all address issues central to The Together Plan’s work, including Belarusian and Jewish history. Save the dates of the remaining screenings on 3rd September and 12th November 2017, or else buy a Season Ticket including entry to all three screenings for just £22.50. There is a 20% concession discount available.

Your support makes possible The Together Plan’s vital work, the results of which you see each week in our newsletters. Events like this are also a great opportunity to find out about our work in more detail, and meet the volunteers and fellow supporters who make it possible.

The Together Plan is organising the film festival in partnership with the Finchley Reform Synagogue Belarus Project (Registered Charity No. 1137577), who are supporting the Jewish community in Polotsk, Belarus.

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Reserve Tickets

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Download the Flyer

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Photos of Shavuot celebrations in the Polotsk Jewish Community, Belarus

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Members of the Polotsk Jewish Community last week celebrated the festival of Shavuot, which took place on Thursday. Through a series of activities combining education about the meaning and traditions of the festival with fun and enjoyable activities, Polotsk’s festivities put a smile on the faces of everyone present.

Celebrations like these are the product of a longstanding relationship between the Polotsk Community and The Together Plan. Jointly with Finchley Reform Synagogue in London they founded Youth for Youth, a project to build links between young adults around the world and encourage collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Six years, five international summer camps and countless festivals later, Polotsk have gained the skills required to plan and run engaging activities such as these celebrations, which would have been inconceivable just a few years ago.

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More than 200 headstones recovered in Slutsk

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The team tasked with recovering headstones from the dismantled Jewish cemetery in Minsk has now unearthed over 200 headstones since the project began in April. As with many Jewish cemeteries in the former Soviet Union, Slutsk’s had been demolished by the Soviet authorities, with the headstones repurposed as building materials or simply abandoned and buried. The recovery project is being run in collaboration with the Zeliger Foundation – named for a Jewish citizen of Bobruisk who risked his freedom to preserve the memory of the Holocaust in his hometown, whose relatives are now continuing his work.

Many members of the Slutsk Jewish Community have ancestors buried in the demolished cemetery. Watching the excavation, the community – many of whose number are Holocaust survivors who witnessed the near-destruction of Jewish life, first by the Nazis and then by the Soviet authorities – repeatedly stressed the importance of preserving their shared history. (The community’s very name, translated from Russian, means ‘Remember’.) The project, which will culminate in the building of a memorial, will involve community members of all ages in a range of activities, helping to engage them with their Jewish identity and their community, transforming memory of the past into a vibrant future for the community.

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