THE REUT GIDONIM PROJECT – RESTORING JEWISH CEMETERIES IN POLAND
During their trip to Poland in eleventh grade, students from the Re’ut High School in Jerusalem worked for two days in a cemetery near Krakow, helping to re-build the cemetery and restore some dignity to this historic site. The students returned to Israel feeling that their work had not been completed, so in 2003, students at the RE’UT SCHOOL in Jerusalem asked the school administration to make a framework for them to work during the summer months in the Krakow and other Jewish cemeteries in Poland.
The specific tasks would include cleaning, unearthing and lifting tombstones, painting names, reassembling broken tombstones, mapping and documenting the cemetery. They would record and photograph each tombstone and enter the information into an online data base and create archive of information for the general public.
Under the leadership of Dr. Aryeh Geiger, the then Principal of Reut, the project to be known as the GIDONIM PROJECT, became a reality.
Since 2003 seven missions of students and staff from Re’ut have spent two weeks of their summer vacations participating in this ongoing work. The project has been active in restoration work in 15 cemeteries and 3 mass graves, renovating thousands of graves, documenting and recording the family names on the tombstones and on our return to Israel, processing the documentation material and uploading it to the Gidonim website.
The GIDONIM PROJECT reflects a deep commitment to restoring dignity to the Jewish communities of Poland that were destroyed during the Holocaust. The project creates a vital link between Israeli youth’s and Jewish history in Poland.
The GIDONIM PROJECT is named after the communications experts, who before the State of Israel was established, worked in the Aliya Bet underground organization. Nachum Manor, one of the original members of this famous GIDONIM group, and his wife Genya Manor are Holocaust survivors. Saved by Oscar Schindler, they have been actively involved with REUT trips to Poland and in the subsequent restoration work.
We have named the project in their honor and recognize the contributions of Genia and Nachum Manor to the school with gratitude.