Drones to help survey thousands of Jewish cemeteries across Europe

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Drones to help survey thousands of Jewish cemeteries across Europe

Workshop being held in Ukraine - where drones of a different kind have wrought havoc and destruction since February

An EU-funded initiative will mean that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are used to help preserve Jewish heritage
An EU-funded initiative will mean that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are used to help preserve Jewish heritage

An EU-funded heritage initiative using drones flown over Jewish cemeteries is being held in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv this week.

Far from the kind used in war, the heritage mapping drones are designed to survey more than 3,000 Jewish cemeteries located across central and eastern Europe, with hundreds in Ukraine.

A workshop in Kyiv on drone usage in Jewish heritage preservation is being held on Wednesday in an event organised by the ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative, in which architecture and engineering students use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) to collect data.

“Drones today are a key tool in the preservation of heritage, as we learned through our mass survey work of Jewish cemeteries,” said ESJF head Philip Carmel.

“It is phenomenal that we are holding this event in Ukraine at the current time, a country that once hosted the largest number of Jewish communities in the world before the Shoah… Drones have done so much damage in the country recently. Hopefully, they can also be used widely in the future for positive benefit to all.”

Drones will be used in Ukraine, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, and Slovakia, after a recent survey revealed the perilous condition of Jewish burial sites across central and eastern Europe, with 44 percent needing “urgent” protection.

An estimated 44 percent of Jewish burial sites across central and eastern Europe require ‘urgent’ repair work

Most of the communities which owned these cemeteries were destroyed in the Holocaust, so the cemeteries often remain the last physical witness to centuries of Jewish community life in these areas.

The workshop is co-organised by drone experts, Germandrones and DroneUA, and the Faculty of Land Management at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences Of Ukraine, where the event will take place.

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