Jewish Cemeteries in Central and Eastern Europe

On the volume by Rudolf Klein

Text: György Szegő

Rudolf Klein, the author of this representative 455-page thesaurus has used the option offered to him by ICOMOS in a convincing way: he was invited to explore the Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe by the organisation specialised in the protection of historic monuments. This commission allowed him to tour the locations he hadn’t mapped before, but still necessary in order to give an authentically scientific systemization of the topic-related venues. Art and architectural history, the protection of historic buildings and cultural history have now opened up towards 19th-century Jewish cemeteries as well. According to Klein, however, research work approaches the relics of this period with rather partial viewpoints even today. His book takes on an interdisciplinary attitude, with a pioneering approach and with special regard to the research, process and interpretation of modern urban Jewish cemeteries. He does not focus on gravestones, but the entirety of the graveyards themselves, their urban contexts, the garden with a landscaped character, as well as the issues associated with them. As Rudolf Klein views them in his own holistic approach, cemeteries function much in the same way as mirrors.