Every cloud has a silver lining

This old truth could be applied also for our current complicated times. Many activities of ŽNO Žilina are now limited or completely cancelled. After many years, we could not meet at the seder dinner, we do not come in contact at the ŽNO Club and we even had to cancel our regular June events. Tryzna, tradition we have followed since the end of the World War II – is not going to happen this year. However, complicated times when most of us are unable to work in our regular jobs offered us opportunity to take more care of old Jewish cemeteries. Which is good.

There is only one ŽNO in Žilina district and the Žilina cemetery is the only one where the dead are being buried. But there are another 27 cemeteries in the district left after defunct ŽNOs. These cemeteries are mostly in desolate condition and it is not possible for us to take care of them. However, there are exceptions and we are pleased to say that volunteers are increasingly continuing with the revitalization and repair of the cemetery in Kysucké Nové Mesto. It was in a desolate state for a long time and actually became a dumping ground for the nearby town cemetery. Last year volunteers already cleared shrubs and removed wind dispersed woods. This spring they took away hundreds of tons of soil, concrete and rubbish by using machinery from the area. Stairs appeared along the entire edge of the cemetery and gravestones could see sunlight after being buried under soil and garbage for years. Eventually, erection of gravestones and sowing of grass will be a cherry on top of the cake. Our thanks goes to Mr. Minch, Mr. Janoška and a group of people around them who volunteered for this not easy but well appreciated task.

ŽNO Žilina takes care of the cemetery in Kotešová. Few years ago only a few dedicated ones would know that there are graves under trees, bushes and weed. Gradually we managed to clear dozens of wind dispersed woods and remove shrubs. This year there was an unpleasant surprise as a heavy uprooted spruce fell right between two gravestones. The company Seidl, s.r.o. processed spruce wood, cut dozens of wind dispersed woods and processed heaps of branches into wood chips. In the end we managed to find a company that disposed of last few bushes with a trimmer and mowed the cemetery. This company will continue to help with works on other neglected cemeteries in the region.

Last week we started with works on repairing the cemetery in Rajec which was damaged by vandals. M. Melicherčík and his colleagues from a construction company have so far built 11 grave stones and the works will continue. We plan to erect and repair more than 20 gravestones damaged by minor vandals.
We believe that the parents of minor vandals and perhaps the vandals themselves will join the Christian volunteers who have been taking good care of the cemetery in Rajec for years.

In Námestovo civic association CA Pamätaj (Remember) headed by Ing. K. Kurtulík is repairing a cemetery damaged by vandals and with the help of organizations and individuals they are determined to rebuild all 50 damaged gravestones. Not only that, the cemetery will be illuminated and monitored by electronic monitoring system.

At the end of March we received information about the gradual cutting of nine trees in the cemetery in Dolný Kubín. The perpetrator has been found and we will demand compensation from him for damages he caused by illegal cutting of trees which also damaged the cemetery fence. The public in Dolný Kubín was not happy about what happened in our cemetery. The long term keeper of the cemetery in Dolný Kubín, Mrs. A. Pániková will be helped out by activists from Aktív-Relax civic association.

Pavel Frankl
Head of ŽNO Žilina