Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries

The Centre of Archaeology has been awarded a major grant to research cultural genocide and killing sites in Jewish cemeteries across Europe.


Bierun Stary Jewish Cemetery Photo credit: Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls

Recording Cultural Genocide and Killing Sites in Jewish Cemeteries is a two-year research project, funded by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

The project is a collaboration between Staffordshire University, The Matzevah Foundation and Fundacja Zapomniane. Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls will lead the project, which started in July 2016.

This project will raise awareness of the causes and consequences of cultural and physical genocide (using Jewish cemeteries desecrated by the Nazis as a pilot case study), directly tackling racism, xenophobia and hostility in the present.

This will be achieved by:

(1) Conducting new research into relationships between the destruction of property by Nazis and their collaborators, and the use of religious spaces as killing sites;

(2) Undertaking a series of “social action projects” at selected Jewish cemeteries where cultural and physical genocide occurred in the past, and where neglect and vandalism is occurring presently.

(3) Disseminating the results of (1) and (2) via a state-of-the-art digital platform. The project will adopt a unique interdisciplinary methodology to achieve its aims, utilising techniques from history, archaeology, digital humanities, conservation and community engagement.

The project team have already began new research in Oświęcim Jewish Cemetery in Poland and the results of this work will be available in summer 2017. In May 2017, the team also undertook a survey in Rohatyn, Ukraine in order to document cultural genocide and mass killings at three sites.

View the project website or Facebook page