Scope of Work

The project “Protecting Memory” combines the sustainable protection and dignified memorialization of mass graves with historical and educational work. The complexity of the project is reflected in its areas of activity and guiding principles:

The exact location and boundaries of graves at project sites are determined by non-invasive methods. This is done in order to comply with Jewish religious law (Halacha), which requires that the final resting place of the dead remains undisturbed. Representatives of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe monitor the ground-related work on site – both archaeological surveys and later construction – so as to ensure that Halacha is maintained. Local Jewish communities are also involved in project work.

Through “Protecting Memory”, the surface of the mass graves and the adjoining area receive comprehensive administrative protection. This includes first and foremost the transfer of the plots of land affected to communal property, their re-designation of intended use as memorial sites, and their corresponding entry into cadastral maps. After construction, the memorial sites are entered into the State Registry of Immovable Monuments of Local Significance in Ukraine and, with that, placed under the state protection.

“Protecting Memory” also sees to it that mass graves are structurally protected and turned into dignified places of remembrance and information points. Project architects help find cost-effective and sustainable solutions with this end in mind. Elements from existing memorials are left in place and integrated into the new memorial sites. The protection of mass graves where looting efforts occur presents a major challenge.

Extensive historical research helps to determine the location of mass graves, the sequence of events during mass shootings, the number of victims, the perpetrators involved, and the fate of individual victims and survivors. The results of this research are made available to the public in a variety of ways. The history of Jewish communities and their destruction during the Holocaust is presented in three languages on information stelae at each project site. The results of the historical research are also used for pedagogical work with local schools and an oral history project with university students. The aim of the educational program is to encourage teachers, schoolchildren, and students to explore their local history on their own and to care for the new memorial sites.