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The Unfinished Task: Preserving Jewish Heritage in Eastern Europe from the Holocaust to the War in Ukraine

Almost 80 years after the Holocaust, 35 years after the fall of communism and 10 years since Russia invaded Ukraine, how is the Jewish past being preserved and presented in Eastern Europe? Jewish sages famously said, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

In this illustrated lecture, Samuel Gruber reviews efforts – and obstacles – in Central and Eastern Europe by government and private agencies, institutions and organizations to document, protect, conserve and maintain Jewish historic and religious sites, especially synagogues, cemeteries and Holocaust-related sites.

Gruber brings his unique personal perspective of 35 years of documentation, presentation planning, advocacy and education in the region. In the decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the quantity and quality of this work keeps growing, as well as increased engagement Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and the interest of travelers from around the world. But new problems and dangers arise and changing local and global circumstances and new audiences demand new approaches.

 

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