The Siedleczka Cemetery is a landmark Jewish cemetery established in approximately 1850. It is located in the village of Siedleczka, Poland on an isolated rural hillside lacking a sign. It is publicly accessible to all since there are no walls or gates around the premises. The cemetery measures 0.44 hectares and contains many gravestones dating from 1862 through the 20th century, the majority of which are collapsed or broken. There is no maintenance, care or remaining structures. The cemetery is left to the elements and is slowly decaying. The cemetery is observed to be completely overgrown with poison ivy, bushes and trees. While there are both residential and agricultural properties adjacent to the Siedleczka Cemetery, it has been abandoned by local residents. Although the cemetery is off of the main road, it is not visible from the road. To find it, you need to navigate up an old muddy hilly road; it is inaccessible except at the outer edges.
In October 2001, Howard Nightingale set out on a journey in search of his roots and wrote a journal documenting his discoveries. As a result of his journey, he has decided to establish the Siedleczka Cemetery Restoration Project (under the auspices of the Polish Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project) to help restore and rebuild the rundown cemetery. He hopes to contact any Jews who have roots in any of the shtetlach in and around Siedleczka who may read about and possibly contribute to the project. With the generous help of potential donors from around the world, Howard Nightingale is hopeful that this worthwhile project can be completed.
While many Jews who survived the Holocaust are reluctant to provide financial assistance to Poland and its citizens by contributing to the restoration of the cemetery, the restoration should be seen as a re-affirmation of the Yiddish phrase "mir zenen do"- "we are still here". To ignore the restoration of this cemetery and others throughout Poland and Europe is to give Hitler a posthumous victory.
A plan of restoration has been undertaken. The Town of Kańczuga is located very close to the cemetery. The Town Council has generously agreed to remove the underbrush and growth and clean the cemetery. The next step is the raising of funds to complete the walls and gates around the cemetery in order to comply with Halachic requirements. The cataloguing of the headstones and their placement will be undertaken once the necessary funds are raised.
Howard Nightingale has obtained confirmation from the United States and Canada that all donations will be on treated as charitable donations, with the appropriate tax receipt issued to the donor.
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