Europeana, a digital heritage project funded by the European Union, empowers the cultural heritage sector. It facilitates the sharing and promotion of European cultural heritage so that it can be used and enjoyed by everyone for learning, for work, or just for fun and we are delighted to now be a part of it!
In 2019, The Together Plan became a member of the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Heritage and Culture – the AEPJ. This superb organisation manages the development of the ‘European Route of Jewish Heritage’ one of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. Launched by the Council of Europe in 1987, the Cultural Routes demonstrate, by means of a journey through space and time, how the heritage of the different countries and cultures of Europe contributes to a shared and living cultural heritage.
We became a member of the AEPJ to build a Jewish Heritage Route in Belarus as a community building programme. Belarus has an immensely important 700 year Jewish history that few know about, and that includes the Belarusians, Jews and non-Jews, who live there today.
Through our AEPJ membership we have forged a strong working relationship with the Jewish Heritage Network (JNN) in Amsterdam, a digital agency developing Jewish digital heritage projects and services with forward-looking institutions and funders. The core of their mission is to leverage innovative technologies to provide global access to Jewish heritage content.
During 2022, we joined forces with the JHN alongside other AEPJ members working on Jewish heritage routes in Europe, to create a collection on Europeana – an online space for digital heritage materials. Europeana is a portal for collections of art, books, films, music, audio recordings, photographs, articles, audio tours and more – from thousands of cultural institutions.
Throughout 2022 our team in Belarus worked tirelessly on this project, doing the research, taking the photographs and uploading the information to Europeana with all the relevant metadata. The experts at JHN were there to guide us through and support our technical challenges. Special thanks here goes to Sonya Shaipak in our Minsk office for her dedication and focus on this project.
It is with great excitement that we can now share our collection which is now available and can be found here. The headstones, and remnants of headstones from the Brest-Litovsk Jewish cemetery that we photographed in 2021 – can also be seen here.
This is a very exciting step forward in the development of our work to build a Jewish cultural heritage route through Belarus as we develop tools to digitally map the route where travellers (either virtual or in real time) will be able to access these materials, and find the communities and Jewish organisations active in Belarus, as well as our Jewish heritage clubs who are playing a key role in exploring and researching the history of Jewish Belarus.
If you have ancestry in Belarus, and have stories, recipes, photographs, or film that you would like to share as part of the collection in helping to tell the story of Jewish Belarus – we would be delighted to hear from you. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To support the development of the Belarus Jewish Heritage Route donations can be made through:
The Together Plan here
Jewish Tapestry Project here
Click here to read more about our route on the AEPJ website.