In conjunction with extensive meetings with conservators, craftspeople and the City of Bialystok in August 2022, the BCRF presents here their prospectus for restoring Bagnowka Jewish Cemetery in Bialystok, Poland. The first project undertaken in 2023, outlined in this prospectus, is restoration of the the Memorial Pillar that remembers victims of two 1905 massacres in Bialystok and the brutal 1906 pogrom. This restoration was completed in November 2023 and the pillar’s journey to restoration can be found here. Additional projects include restoring the ohel (mausoleum) for Chief Rabbi Chaim Hertz Halpern (d. 1919), originally funded by the Bialystoker Center in New York (1922). A symbolic ohel is also planned at the former gravesite for Chief Rabbi Shmuel Mohilewer (d. 1898), founder of this cemetery and one of the founders of Religious Zionism. Rabbi Mohilewer’s remains were reinterred in 1991 by his followers in Mazkeret Batya Cemetery, Israel.
Repair to the cemetery’s infrastructure is also planned, to include repair of the cemetery’s wall and new wrought-iron entrance gates, repair of fencing along the eastern border, connection to city water supply as well as clearing of the still-wooded sections of this cemetery to enable restoration and documentation of the gravesites still extant. In 2023, the City provided a water connection just outside the main entrance and cleared one and a half wooded sections.
The following document provides a more detailed look at these planned restoration projects, including historical photos and artist’s renditions of the restorations. As formal design concepts become available, this document will be updated. The next planned update is in early 2024. Cost estimates for these projects can also be found at the end of this Document.