About the project

About the Project

The „Unfolding Communities“ is part of an ongoing project which started out in September 2013 as a joint high school program of German and Israeli students, to restore, renovate and document the abandoned Jewish cemetery of Bad Neustadt an der Saale, where all traces of a once thriving Jewish community vanished following the annihilation of the Jews during World War 2. The exchange program between the high schools Mikve Yisrael High School (Holon, Israel) and the Bad Neustadt Rhön Gymnasium (Bad Neustadt a.S., Germany) has existed for over twenty years. The content of the program was traditionally one of cultural exchange. The documentation program that took place was the first attempt to address the question of the past.

Following the work performed in Bad Neustadt, the project is presently continuing in Mellrichstadt under the joint initiative of the local town councils and dedicated individuals from both Germany and Israel, led in Mellrichstadt by Mrs Erika Rust and the Department of Photographic Communication at the Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem.

This cemetery, as too the Jewish community of Mellrichstadt has been researched and documented at length by Mrs Erika Rust. The purpose of this project and subsequent website is to make the fruits of this research public and available for all to access. Furthermore, the collaboration of local researchers, the Mellrichstadt town council and Israeli students is to be viewed as a pathway to asking questions about personal and communal identity, about beliefs, preconceptions and joint values. Moreover, the information presented here should used to expand the knowledge about the Jewish community of the region. History books did not pay much attention to these small peripheral communities. This website sets out to redress the balance and shed light on a small but important community whose history has much to teach us, about both our past and our present.