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Cultural Heritage Preservation Projects

Another major Commission activity helps restore, preserve, and memorialize cultural heritage properties, including cemeteries, monuments and historic buildings. Most projects are funded by private sources. Some receive assistance from the government of the location.

Commission assistance is provided for projects identified by U.S. citizens, federal officials, foreign governments, Commission Members, and through the Commission’s surveys of cultural heritage sites.

Commission assistance is generally provided through interventions with foreign governments and sometimes provided through Commission sponsorship. In some cases, the Commission transfers funds, oversees fieldwork, and provides technical assistance for project sponsors in the U.S.

Photograph of the Little Camp Memorial at Buchenwald “Little Camp” Memorial at Buchenwald, Germany, designed by the camp’s survivor and project architect Stephen B. Jacobs.

In April 2002, the Commission’s largest project to date was completed -- construction of a memorial on the site of the most horrific section of the Nazis’ Buchenwald Concentration Camp, known as the “Little Camp.” The project was a joint venture of the Commission and the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, a German federal and state agency.

In October 2002, another Commission-sponsored Holocaust memorial, this one in Brailov, Ukraine, was dedicated to 3,000 people massacred by the Nazis on a single day in 1942.

In December 2002, a Commission-sponsored memorial was dedicated in Riga, Latvia to more than 25,000 people massacred by the Nazis during just two days in 1941.

Photograph of the Sarajevo Pre-burial HousePre-burial house at the Sarajevo Jewish cemetery, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Another major project, restoration of a pre-burial house at an historic Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in what was known as “Sniper’s Alley” during the 1992-1995 War in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is nearing completion.

Other examples of preservation and commemoration projects that were funded with private funds include: the installation of a commemorative plaque in the Judeo-Spanish language at the Auschwitz Holocaust Memorial, Auschwitz, Poland; restoration of an historic synagogue in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; preservation of historic Jewish cemeteries in Ozarow, Poland, and Brody, Ukraine.

In addition, a program has been established at the American University in Sofia, Bulgaria on the contributions that American Protestant missionaries made to the shaping of the Bulgarian educational system.

Among the Commission's numerous projects that are ongoing are: the restoration of the “Hidden Synagogue” in the former Terezin Ghetto in Prague, Czech Republic; an exhibit at the former Nazi labor camp at Mittelbau-Dora, Germany; restoration of the Jewish cemeteries in Berdichev and Brody, Ukraine, in Butrimonys, Lithuania, in Karczew, Poland, and in Kosice, Slovakia; and fundraising for preserving historic wooden Greek-Catholic churches in northeastern Slovakia.

President Reappoints Three Commission Members

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                                                              October 23, 2014

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent... to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts...

  • Herbert Block – Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Richard H. Weisberg – Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad
  • Gary P. Zola – Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

President Obama said, “These fine public servants bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their important roles.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”


Herbert Block, Appointee for Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Herbert Block is Assistant Executive Vice-President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a position he has held since 1999.  He was first appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in 2011.  Previously, he served as Assistant Director for Intergovernmental and Public Affairs for the New York City Independent Budget Office from 1996 to 1999, and was Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Relations at the Corporation for National and Community Service from 1994 to 1995.  Mr. Block was Assistant to the Mayor of the City of New York from 1990 to 1993 and a Special Assistant to the Manhattan Borough President from 1986 to 1989.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the World Jewish Restitution Organization.  Mr. Block received a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Dr. Richard H. Weisberg, Appointee for Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Dr. Richard H. Weisberg is the Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, a position he has held since 1976.  He was first appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in 2011.   Dr. Weisberg began his academic career as Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature at The University of Chicago in 1970 and is currently a Visiting Professor of Law.  He is the founding and current president of the Law & Humanities Institute and founding and general editor of a periodical, Law and Literature.  Dr. Weisberg is a recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships.  In 2009, he was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government for his work to provide restitution from France to victims of the wartime Vichy regime.  Dr. Weisberg received a B.A from Brandeis University, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Dr. Gary P. Zola, Appointee for Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Dr. Gary P. Zola is the Executive Director of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives.  He also serves as Professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Dr. Zola was first appointed to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in 2011.  He is a member of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Academic Council of the American Jewish Historical Society.  From 2002 to 2005, he was Chair of the Commission for Commemorating 350 Years of American Jewish History and from 2006 to 2010, he was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.  Dr. Zola received a B.A. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, an M.A. from Northwestern University, and an M.A., Rabbinic Ordination, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion.