In 2019, The Together Plan became a member of the AEPJ (European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Heritage and Culture) to build a Jewish Heritage Route in Belarus. For a small charity – this was and is a big remit, but the AEPJ vetted and approved us and understood we had a long road ahead. Our membership of the AEPJ is of extraordinary value to us in our work. The support, guidance, training and opportunities in the field of Jewish cultural heritage with likeminded practicioners and professionals across the landscape of Europe is of untold value.
With our superb team in Belarus we are developing our road map to bring Jewish Belarus into focus. An enormous amount of work has been taking place over the last twelve months in Belarus, the UK and the Netherlands which will enable us to start bringing Jewish Belarus to you.
Research with our historian in Minsk and heritage specialists in Novogroduk and Brest has enabled us to identify hundreds of sites – buildings, cemeteries, memorials and museums all with Jewish provenance. Our team has been travelling around the country to photograph those sites and in collaboration with the Jewish Heritage Network in Amsterdam – our collection of over 1600 digital assets are now being added to Europeana, an online platform for exploration of Europe’s digital cultural heritage and an initiative of the European Union.
Our first collection is just the start, in fact it doesn’t even scratch the surface so we would like to invite people, wherever you are in the world, who have a connection to Jewish Belarus to support our work as we continue to research, and collate more information and more images. If your family came from a particular village or shtetl and you would like to sponsor the work to research that area so that we can add it to the next collection – we would love to hear from you. With such a mighty task – we can’t do it alone – but there is strength in numbers and with your support we know we can achieve our objectives. This is our TOGETHER PLAN!
The long term goal is to create a website – with an interactive map where all the images, information and personal stories that we are collecting can be accessed, where trips can be planned and where communities in Belarus today can be identified and visited. If you are interested in learning more and would like to consider supporting this project please contact us.
To give you a teaser – click here to read Debra Brunner’s first blog for Europeana ‘A Glimpse of Jewish Minsk.’ Who were the volunteers at the Firefighting Society in the middle of the 19th century, who was the musician who turned Minsk into the Jazz capital of the Soviet Union and who was the Jewish architect who designed the House of Government?
Belarus has an incredible Jewish story yet to be told….and this is the start of the telling of that story! There is SO much more to come.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Pavel Kats Alexander Raginsky and Vadim Shestopalov at Jewish Heritage Network for steering this amazing project and for the formidable team at the AEPJ for providing guidance and training, setting standards and managing the overall European Route of Jewish Heritage as we carry out our challenging work.
For more information please get in touch with us: [email protected]