On the 14th, 18th and 19th December 2022, the ESJF was proud to meet with 50 Ukrainian Jewish heritage activists for a three-day EU Masterclass on the importance of preserving Jewish cemeteries. A total of 148 registered to receive the recordings of the event and shared their input via email. Connecting online from countries far away from their home as well as across Ukraine in between blackouts and ballistic missiles, participants were unanimous in declaring their hopes to continue protecting Jewish heritage despite the ongoing war. 

During the event, ideas and experiences were shared on best practices gathered from activists over years of work and dedication. For example,Serhiy Prokhoda, Deputy Head of the Kryvyi Rih District Military Administration, stated that they have clear protocols on how to act, including saving memorials and other cultural heritage, and it is their responsibility and desire to follow them. The community from Ivano-Frankivsk, on the other hand, shared their wishes to install a surveillance camera close to their local Jewish cemetery to prevent vandalism. They also noted that while this year they had completed less Jewish cemetery preservation projects than usual because of budget cuts, they generally continued working as normal.

The masterclass concluded with a kick off meeting for a Ukrainian Regional Cemetery Association, which will connect actors from across Ukraine to advocate for the protection of Jewish cemeteries. As a first step, a telegram chat will be set up to continue the exchange of ideas and organise further meetings.