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Commission Chair meets with Orthodox Jewish Leadership in Brooklyn



UJO Hosts Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad Chair Weiss


By Jeff Mann of the Greenpoint Gazette in New York

February 28, 2014


Rabbi Niederman (behind Assemblyman Lentol) addresses Weiss and religious
leaders at UJO's Williamsburg headquarters.



In two weeks, Irish-Americans will honor their heritage as they march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade. As winter turns to spring and then summer, immigrant pride will be on display nearly every week at a variety of parades and events honoring the homelands from which each group emigrated to make the US the melting pot that it is.

Recognizing that its population is comprised mostly of immigrants and their descendants – proud Americans with a strong sense of their historical cultures – the US government has taken an interest in preserving foreign sites, which are an important part of its citizens’ heritage. Tasked with achieving that goal is the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, an independent government agency, established in 1985 to restore, preserve and memorialize cultural heritage properties, including cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings.

This week, its Chair, Lesley Weiss visited North Brooklyn, joining The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg (UJO), local elected officials and Jewish leaders to discuss the Commission’s work. Weiss, a President Obama appointee, is charged with protecting Jewish cemeteries and holy sites abroad. The Commission has a history of working with UJO to preserve Jewish cemeteries in Europe, including most recently in Kalisz, Sublice, Vinnitsiya and a mass grave in Kremmnetz.

“The preservation of Jewish cemeteries cuts across all communities,”said Rabbi David Niederman, Executive Director of UJO. “A Jewish cemetery does not lose its holiness with the passage of time or because vandals destroy the tombstones. The cemetery belongs to its inhabitants who purchased their plots to rest in peace, undisturbed, even for the most noble of purposes.”

The Holocaust annihilated much of Europe’s Jewish population, leaving no one to care for the communal properties that were an integral part of the Jewish religion. The destruction and deterioration of properties under the Nazis persisted under subsequent atheistic Communist regimes.

“Congress and the President originally established the Commission because Orthodox Jewish leaders, like those I was privileged to meet in Brooklyn, feared that cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe would be lost in the aftermath of European Jewry’s destruction,” Weiss explained. “While the Commission’s work isn’t limited to cemeteries or to Jewish sites, addressing that original concern remains its priority mission.”

Most of the Commission’s projects are funded by private sources and some receive assistance from the government where the site is located. Notable projects include the construction of a memorial on the section of the Nazis’ Buchenwald Concentration Camp, known as the “Little Camp” and a Holocaust memorial in Brailov, Ukraine dedicated to 3,000 people massacred by the Nazis on a single day in 1942 The restoration of a pre-burial house at a historic Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in what was known as “Sniper’s Alley” during the 1992-1995 War, is nearing completion.

The late Williamsburg Congressman Stephen Solarz, who served from the 1970s to 1990s, led the Congressional efforts to establish the Commission. At last week’s meeting the community’s local elected officials, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilmember Steve Levin joined Weiss, Niederman and the other leaders in support of the Commission’s work and its efforts on behalf of the Jewish community.

“The work [Weiss] does to preserve the historical and religious sanctity of many generations is admirable,” Lentol said. “We must look back to be able to successfully look forward and protecting the holiness of a cemetery takes direct aim at honoring these sanctuaries.”



UJO of Williamsburg Hosts U.S. Commission Chair Lesley Weiss with array of Jewish Leaders

(UJO press release)

The United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, welcomed Hon. Lesley Weiss, Chair of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, along with a wide swath of the Orthodox community. Chair Weiss was appointed by President Obama a year ago to lead the Commission and is charged with protecting Jewish cemeteries and holy sites abroad.

Prominent elected officials Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, Senator Daniel Squadron and Councilman Steve Levin attended and voiced their support of the Commission's vital work and the critical efforts they are engaged in on behalf of the Jewish community.

"It was a privilege to host Chair Weiss, Commission Member Herbert Block, in Williamsburg, which is where the legislative roots of the Commission took form, when the late Congressman Stephen Solarz led the Congressional efforts to establish it. We were so gratified to be joined by a diverse part of the Jewish community from the Chasidic, Sephardic and the Mirrer Yeshiva. The preservation of Jewish cemeteries cuts across all communities and its very reassuring that we all stand united with the American government and the U.S. Commission led by Chair Weiss. A Jewish cemetery does not lose its holiness with the passage of time or because vandals destroy the tombstones. Even when there are no visible symbols that it is a cemetery, the integrity of the entire area, according to its original boundaries, has to be preserved in perpetuity. The cemetery belongs to its inhabitants who purchased their plots to rest in peace, undisturbed, even for the most noble of purposes." said Rabbi Niederman.

Commission Chair Lesley Weiss said after the meeting, “Congress and the President originally established the Commission because Orthodox Jewish leaders, like those I was privileged to meet in Brooklyn, feared that cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe would be lost in the aftermath of European Jewry’s destruction.“While the Commission’s work isn’t limited to cemeteries or to Jewish sites, addressing that original concern remains its priority mission. The meetings I held in New York City Wednesday will help to guide the Commission’s important efforts in protecting and preserving these cemeteries, which are so important to our heritage.”

Richard Altabe, Headmaster of Yeshivat Shaare Torah commented, " It has some years since I witnessed with my own eyes the destruction of my ancestors resting place in Salonika, Greece. We must insure that we protect Jewish cemeteries abroad so that desecrations like the one I witnessed in Salonika never happen again. I thank Rabbi Niederman for hosting this meeting and encourage the Commission to continue to advocate for U.S. Heritage Abroad and seek to tie U.S. aid to securing our cemeteries."

“It was a pleasure to join my colleagues and constituents to honor the work of Commission Chair Lesley Weiss. The work she does to preserve the historical and religious sanctity of many generations is admirable. We must look back to be able to successfully look forward and protecting the holiness of a cemetery takes direct aim at honoring these sanctuaries. I also must acknowledge the work Rabbi David Niederman continues to do on behalf of the Jewish Community worldwide in preserving Jewish cemeteries. His work is so important to honoring the history of many of Williasmburg's families,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn).

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, "I thank Chair Weiss for sitting down to discuss the important work of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad. Around the world, Jewish cemeteries and other holy sites are threatened, especially in areas in which communities have shrunk or disappeared. Working with community leaders, the Commission is an important part of preservation. I look forward to continuing to support the work being done to protect and honor those sites here and abroad."

“It was a great honor to welcome Chair Weiss to Williamsburg,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Protecting Jewish cemeteries and holy sites is incredibly important and dear to our hearts and I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the issue with Chair Weiss. I want to thank Rabbi Niederman and the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg for hosting the meeting with Chair Weiss."












Commission Chair Lesley Weiss, front row center, Member Herbert Block, front third from the left, and Member Jules Fleischer, front second from the left, pose with members of Admas Kodesh after a meeting February 19th in Brooklyn, New York regarding the preservation of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe--a principal Commission focus.  Former Commission Member Rabbi Edgar Gluck is in the last seat on the right.

Standing from left to right are: Chaim Appel, a lawyer who helps restore cemeteries in Europe; Wolf Sender, a Boro Park Jewish activist; Shimon Weinberger, Director of Admas Kodesh, who also represented Satmar Institutions; Yitzchok Reichberg, who helps restore cemeteries in Galicia, Poland; Gary Schlesinger, Executive Board Chairman, UJCare/Admas Kodesh; Leon Goldenberg, Executive Board Chair, Flatbush JCC; David Moskowitz, founder of Jewish Day Schools in Budapest, Hungary; Josh Mehlman, Executive Director, Flatbush JCC; Moshe Vizel, who works on government relations for UJCare/Admas Kodesh; Ezra Friedlander, President of the Friedlander Group; Rabbi Yechiel Landau, Congregation Veretzky and the Flatbush JCC; and Naftali Reiner, who represented the Bobov Institutions.  Sitting far left is David Singer, who helps restore cemeteries in Poland.  Sitting second from right is Rabbi Gershon Tennenbaum, Director, Agudas Harabonim.


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss (right facing camera) and Member Herbert Block (center
facing camera) meet with personnel of the Heritage Foundation for the Preservation of
Jewish Cemeteries, also known as Avoyseinu, February 19th in Brooklyn, New York.  The
Foundation fences and restores Jewish cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe.  The
Commission was established to help such efforts by identifying burial places and other
sites in the region associated with the heritage of Americans, obtaining assurances from
foreign governments that these sites will be protected and preserved, and encouraging and
facilitating site preservation projects.


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss speaks to Orthodox Jewish leaders and local elected
officials at a meeting organized by the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and
North Brooklyn in Brooklyn, NY February 19th.  Commission Member Herbert Block is
on her right.


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss was in Brooklyn, New York February 19th to meet with Jewish
leaders in the community that prompted the Congress to establish the Commission.  She is shown
here speaking at the first of the meetings, which was held at the office of the Ohel childrens home
and family services organization.  Commission Member Jules Fleischer is the second person seated
from her.


Chairwoman Weiss with Vice President Joe Biden at an event marking
the 100th centennial of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
December 10th.


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss (at head of table on right) November 20th discussed local collaboration
in the Holocaust with diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Uzbekistan,
Azerbaijan, and the nation of Georgia, and scholars at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Commission Chair Lesley Weiss spoke October 16th at an international
conference on combatting anti-Semitism in Kiev, Ukraine.  It was sponsored
by the Ukrainian Jewish Committee and the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, an organization of the governments of 57 nations.

Commission Chair Lesley Weiss joined Vice President Joe Biden and
Dr. Jill Biden at a reception for Jewish leaders at the Vice President's
residence September 24th.

Commission Chair Lesley Weiss met with the Foreign
Minister of Belarus, H.E. Vladimir Makei, on September
25th in New York City.



Commission Chair Lesley Weiss [center] and Member Michael Levy [right] July 8th
presented the Commission's recent report on Protestant Historic Monuments and Sites
in Bulgaria to Bulgarian Ambassador Elena Poptodorova [left].


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss with Former Chairman (2001-13)
and current Member Warren Miller [center] and Former Chairman
Michael Lewan (1994-2001) [right] at a Commission lunch
honoring Miller June 19th.


Commission Chair Lesley Weiss speaks to the Fourth International Conference of the Global Forum for
Combatting Anti-Semitism May 30th in Jerusalem.  She co-chaired the Conference's Anti-Semitism
in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe Working Group.






THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2013

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the
Republic of Poland to Attend the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Poland to attend the 70th Anniversary Commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on April 19, 2013.

The Honorable Stephen D. Mull, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

Mr. Douglas A. Davidson, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, U.S. Department of State

Ms. Lesley L. Weiss, Chair of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad

Mr. Joseph D. Gutman, Member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

Ms. Estelle W. Laughlin, Warsaw Ghetto Survivor

###



President Names Weiss to Chair America’s Heritage Abroad Commission

President Obama January 25th designated Lesley L. Weiss to Chair the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.  He appointed her to be a Commission Member in April 2011.

She succeeds Warren L. Miller, who was designated Chairman by President Bush in 2001.

Weiss is, and will remain, Director of Community Services and Cultural Affairs of NCSJ, a non-governmental organization that advocates on behalf of Jews in the former Soviet Union. 

The Commission was established by law to identify and report on cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe associated with Americans and to obtain assurances from foreign governments that these properties will be preserved.  It also implements and encourages private and foreign-funded site restoration and memorialization projects.

The law establishing the Commission was enacted in 1986 in response to the concern of American Orthodox Jews that cemeteries in the region were being lost because the Holocaust left few Jews there to care for the burial places and Community Party dictatorships were unsympathetic.  The Commission’s mandate, however, is not limited to Jewish-related sites or to burial places.

At NCSJ, Weiss: coordinates democracy initiatives, community education and outreach efforts; promotes partnerships between Jewish communities in the United States and the former Soviet Union; and monitors foreign government compliance in the areas of free emigration and religious and cultural rights.

In 2005, Weiss served as a Public Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Conference on Anti-Semitism and Intolerance and, in 2007, to the follow-up Conference on Combating Discrimination and Promoting Mutual Respect and Understanding.


Article on Member Lee Seeman






The Jewish Daily Forward


The Great Shtibl Revival of Hungary
'Little Room' Shuls in Budapest and Beyond

by Eric Marx                                                                                 Published September 4, 2013, issue of September 6, 2013


In a nondescript apartment building in Budapest’s Eighth District, Rabbi Sholom Hurwitz stands behind a wooden podium and claps out the beat to a raucous Sephardic melody. About 30 people, most of them men, pray together in the flat’s main sanctuary, a small living room that the congregants affectionately call their shtibl — from the Yiddish for “house” or “little room.”

Although it adheres to an Orthodox liturgy, the shtibl at Teleki Square attracts a wide spectrum of young and old worshippers, including nonaffiliated and newly religious people who say the blending of prewar religious tradition and individual freedom speaks to a post-Communist generation still reeling from five decades of spiritual blight.

“It went against the trend,” Hurwitz said of Teleki’s apparent success. “Almost everything in Jewish life is starting to happen in the shul.”

Shtiblekh were common in Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. By the 1880s they had become a fixture of the urban landscape associated with westward migrations into capital cities like Budapest, and beyond, to places like New York and Chicago. Typically located in a room of a private home or a place of business, and set aside for the express purpose of prayer, they offered all the communal services of a synagogue, but in a more casual and intimate atmosphere. For a time, Teleki was thought to be the last of its kind — a relic rescued from oblivion by a handful of dedicated congregants.

But now other shtiblekh are being discovered. And in Teleki’s rebirth as a fringe alternative, a younger generation of Hungarian Jews says it sees a model that can potentially be replicated elsewhere.

“We want to identify, renovate and revive those shtiblekh that are still existing and which are late in their survival period, like we were 10 years ago,” said Andras Mayer, 42, one of the members who, together with his brother, Gabor Mayer, and Hurwitz have helped rescue what was a dying congregation. Where once the century-old congregation struggled to find enough men for a minyan, the tiny three-room house of prayer now overflows with members. Saturday services have been extended one hour, with congregants arriving early for brewed coffee (operated on a special timer), followed by a lunch of kosher cholent prepared the night before, by the rabbi’s wife.

For many, Teleki fills a spiritual void untended to by the city’s organized Jewish establishment. “There would be 20 people in a big, empty space, and I would follow the mincha [afternoon] service and say Kaddish, but then not feel anything,” Tamas Adler, 27, a regular at Teleki, recalled about worshipping at another Budapest synagogue.

Step inside Teleki, and one is struck by the sense that things remain as they were at the turn of the century: Simple bronze chandeliers hang from the ceiling; yellowing kabbalistic paintings adorn the walls, and at the front rests an old Aron HaKodesh topped with two leaping lions of Judah. In the crowded synagogue, tattered prayer books are strewn about rows of stiff-backed benches. There’s a smaller women’s section separated from the men’s section by a mechitza.

Many of the congregants are discovering their Jewish heritage for the first time. While some daven, others read only a little Hebrew, sing a few songs or talk with friends. At the rear, the congregation’s president, Gabor Mayer, is intently following along, occasionally calling out page numbers, while in the kitchen area, Andras Mayer shmoozes with friends.

Neither brother is deeply observant. Like most of their contemporaries, the siblings grew up secular, Gabor Mayer, 32, explains. They are the children of parents who, in the era of Communist rule, wanted to hide their Jewishness or forget everything entirely.

After the war, religious Jews often left Hungary whenever possible, Mayer explains. For those who remained and were confronted with the social challenge of integration, most chose to engage their Jewish identities through culture alone. Moreover, he adds, Jewish life under communism was organized and directed and financed from the top. This kind of hierarchical structure, he says, holds little appeal to the generation of young adults now coming of age.

As many as 90,000 Jews are estimated to live in Budapest, but the overwhelming majority are assimilated. At one level there is a vibrant, thriving community with kosher restaurants and butchers, Jewish educational facilities and a rabbinical school. All the while, most of the city’s functioning synagogues struggle to make a minyan.

There’s a renaissance of Jewish life afoot, though at the same time, Andras Mayer said, “it’s an imbalanced revival” tilted decidedly toward cultural programming.

Neither of the Mayer brothers is a trained community organizer or an ordained religious leader. Nor does Teleki have any paid employees. The Hungarian Autonomous Orthodox Israelite Community, one of three institutions that make up the Jewish religious establishment in present-day Hungary, provides the basic funding for utilities. The rest is covered by voluntary donations and, in the past two years since founding a not-for-profit, by grants for historical preservation that have helped the brothers begin the process of documenting the history of Teleki and that of the surrounding neighborhood.

Teleki was in operation throughout the Communist era, and traces its roots back to the Hasidim from Chortkov, in Galicia, Ukraine, who came to Hungary in the late 1890s. At its height, more than 17 shtiblekh functioned in the neighborhood. None today is visible, but the belief is that some lay dormant, their furniture and devotional objects stored away in closed apartments, waiting to be found.

Two such discoveries were made recently in Budapest’s Sixth District, while across Europe the Mayer brothers say they have identified a half-dozen still in operation.

As of now, plans for a formal shtibl network are in their early stages but could include shtiblekh such as the one located in Aberdeen, Scotland, which dates to 1945 and is said to be attracting congregants. In Istanbul there’s a two-room apartment on the edge of the Grand Bazaar, where Jews of Spanish origin assemble for daily minyans, while in Zilina, Slovakia, a shtibl is rumored to operate for the High Holy Days. The brothers have leads on shtiblekh in Ukraine. Thus far, they have turned up nothing in Poland.

If there were to be a revival, a critical first step would be the recognition of shtiblekh as living cultural institutions of important historical value, says Lesley Weiss, chair of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad.

“Just like a synagogue, [shtiblekh] are part of the heritage of American Jews, so we as a commission would be happy to help mark and preserve them,” Weiss said.

But such support, while welcomed, may not come fast enough to save the remaining shtiblekh. “Other shtiblekh are out there, struggling. They are there trying to make a minyan,” Andras Mayer said. “They are hanging on or are recently closed, but could be brought back to life.”

Eric Marx is a Berlin-based journalist who writes about the revitalization of Jewish communities in the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe.







Times of Israel


After the survivors, only the stones will tell stories
How a small, all-volunteer US government agency is fighting to preserve Jewish cemeteries and sites in Central and Eastern Europe

By Ben Zehavi                                                                                                                                              May 12, 2013

The Jewish cemetery in the southeastern Polish town of Szczebrzeszyn
The Jewish cemetery in the southeastern Polish town of Szczebrzeszyn.
(photo credit: Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland)

The two Hebrew words for cemetery — beit-kvarot (house of graves) and beit-olam (eternal home) – exist in a deliberate but uneasy tension. The former evokes the past, conjuring images of headstones made of concrete, while the latter suggests there is more to the place than its infrastructure. A cemetery is a reminder of the lasting, ongoing influence of those who came before us.

Lesley Weiss understands this. In January, President Obama appointed Weiss as Chairperson of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, a body established by law “to identify and report on cemeteries, monuments, and historic buildings in Eastern and Central Europe associated with Americans and to obtain assurances from foreign governments that these properties will be preserved.”

Many, but not all, of the commission’s projects are focused on Jewish sites in former Communist Bloc countries that have fallen into disrepair in the decades since World War II due to inadequate care, commercial interests and the effects of time.

Despite the Jewish philanthropic world’s near obsession with young adults and “Jewish identity,” Weiss says there are still plenty of American Jews interested in connecting with their past.

“My mom is a Holocaust survivor, a survivor of Auschwitz who comes from the Carpathian Ukraine and there’s nothing left in her town,” she says. “There’s no synagogue and there are no Jews.”

“When this generation dies, nothing will stand in their place that can speak to us about that lost heritage except the physical sites of their former lives. If your family comes from a place and all that’s left are the remnants of a synagogue and it’s falling apart, you want it to be preserved. This is the significance of the work we do [on the commission] to preserve this precious part of the historical record.”

poland9
Gravestones from the Jewish cemetery in Serock, Poland.
(Photo credit: US Commission for the Preserveration of America’s Heritage Abroad)


A dire situation


In Central and Eastern Europe, the state of Jewish cemeteries and abandoned community buildings is grim.

Thousands of sites are decaying as small Jewish communities lack the resources necessary for their care. In places like Poland and the Czech Republic, surviving communities of a few thousand are responsible for the upkeep of massive cemeteries that were administered by far larger Jewish centers before the war. In Poland, a Jewish community that once numbered 3.5 million today stands at 40,000. In Slovakia, close to 100,000 Jews resided there before the Holocaust; today, there are around 3,000.

“Out of 750 Jewish burial grounds in Slovakia, we can afford to take care of only 150 — and even that is a major burden,” Slovakian Jewish community leader Martin Kornfeld said in an interview with the JTA. “The cemeteries can drain tens of thousands of dollars from a budget stretched to cover the senior home, kindergarten, summer camps — the trappings of a living, breathing community.”


A Jewish cemetery in Belz, Ukraine.
(Photo credit: Lo Tikach European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative)


Last year, a special Council of Europe rapporteur for Jewish cemeteries found a number of instances of burial grounds in Eastern Europe that have been turned into “residential areas, public gardens, leisure parks, army grounds and storage sites — some have been turned into lakes.” Eventually, the Council adopted a nonbinding resolution placing responsibility for the care of Jewish cemeteries on national governments.

Weiss acknowledges that it’s a race against time to preserve as much of these sites as possible. Jeffrey Farrow, the Executive Director of the commission she chairs, highlights many of the commission’s accomplishments over the past two years. Some include:

  • Restoration of the largest Jewish cemetery in Bucharest, Romania, after substantial destruction in a 2008 anti-Semitic attack;
  • Identification, funding and construction of a Holocaust mass grave memorial at Muszyki/Biala Podlaska, Poland;
  • Placement of Holocaust memorials in Baryshivka, Dymer, and Fastiv, Ukraine;
  • Restoration of the interior of the synagogue in Ckyne, Czech Republic;
  • Restoration of the Jewish cemetery in Banska Stiavnica, Slovakia and the Jewish cemetery in Kaunas, Lithuania; and
  • Restoration of a Byzantine Greek wooden church in Potoky, Slovakia.


A church?

Indeed. The mandate of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage abroad is not limited to Jewish-related burial sites or places.

Although the 1986 law establishing the commission was fueled largely by the concerns of American Orthodox Jews that cemeteries in Eastern and Central Europe region were being neglected by Communist governments, the (all volunteer) 21-member independent US government agency works to preserve foreign sites of significance to all Americans.

The interior of a synagogue in Čkyně, Czech Republic
slated for restoration. (Photo credit: Jitka Erbenová, 4 Sep 2011)


“The United States is a country mostly comprised of immigrants and their descendants,” says Weiss, who is also the Director of Community Services and Cultural Affairs of an NGO that advocates on behalf of Jews in the former Soviet Union. “As such, the government has an interest in preserving sites in other countries that are an important part of the cultural heritage of many Americans.”

For instance, the agency has identified 22 places of importance related to foreign-born heroes of the American Revolution who fought with colonists against the English. In Poggio-a-Caiano, Italy, the commission funded a plaque to commemorate the birthplace of Philip Mazzei, an Italian doctor and close friend of Thomas Jefferson who helped purchase arms for Virginia during the American Revolutionary War.

But Weiss says the “destruction, desecration, and deterioration of [Jewish] properties under the Nazis and subsequent Communist regimes” was unique and guides the commission’s priorities.

Article Source Date
Preserving America's Heritage Abroad Preserving America's Heritage Abroad The European Courier
Nov. 18, 2010
Time to confront the past Time to confront the past Ha'aretz June 26, 2009
"Little Camp", Big Impact "Little Camp", Big Impact The Jewish Journal June 24, 2009
Bravely honoring the truth Bravely honoring the truth The Philadelphia Inquirer May 29, 2009
Preserve Memory of Shoah By Maintaining Memorials Preserve Memory of Shoah By Maintaining Memorials Forward July 6, 2007
The Evil and the Good done at Kielce The Evil and the Good done at Kielce The Jerusalem Post July 4, 2007
Remembering the Holocaust Remembering the Holocaust The Washington Times April 13, 2007
Memorial to Massacre of Holocaust Survivors to be Unveiled July 4th Memorial to Massacre of Holocaust Survivors to be Unveiled July 4th Press Release
June 30, 2006
Reconciling with History Reconciling with History St. Petersburg Times April 25, 2006
Preserving America's Heritage Abroad Preserving America's Heritage Abroad American University Magazine March 2004

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