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Foreign volunteers start annual cleaning of Jewish cemetery

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Holesov, South Moravia, July 22 (CTK) – Eight young foreign volunteers have started the annual cleaning of Holesov’s Jewish cemetery, coming from Mexico, Turkey, France and Spain, the event’s coordinator Frantisek Brazdilik has told CTK, adding that they will also help stage a festival of Jewish culture.

The festival will start in Holesov, a town with 12,000 inhabitants where one of Moravia’s strongest Jewish communities lived in the past, on Tuesday.

Foreign volunteers are tidying up the local Jewish cemetery for the 12th time this year.

The oldest of them, 31-year-old Rosa Anahi Lopez Cardon from Mexico, told CTK that she already has some experience with volunteers’ meetings, in Canada and Iceland, for example. She said she has come to Moravia to get acquainted with local culture, new sites and new people.

The youngest participant in the Holesov camp is Judith Pobrez, 18, from France, to whom this is the first experience with foreign volunteers’ work.

She, too, said she was attracted by the prospect of cleaning a Jewish piece of heritage, improve her English and gain experience as part of an international community.

The cleaning works started earlier this week and will run through next Sunday.

Within their stay, as usual, the volunteers will make trips to Kromeriz, a district centre with a UNESCO-listed chateau and unique gardens, and the Hostyn hill, which is a popular pilgrimage place.

They will acquaint each other with their homeland’s cuisine.

This year, the local festival of Jewish culture will focus on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Czechoslovakia.

The festival annually remembers the rich history of the former Jewish community that lived in Holesov from the 15th century.

Some 1,700 Jews still lived in the town in the 19th century. Destroyed by the Nazis during WW2, the Jewish community left several monuments behind, including a synagogue with unique decoration and the Jewish cemetery with about 1,500 gravestones.

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