North London business group set to cycle for memorial honouring 26,000 Holocaust victims

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North London business group set to cycle for memorial honouring 26,000 Holocaust victims

BNI in Mill Hill supports £100k fundraising efforts to preserve 1200 remnants of desecrated headstones in Belarus

Debra Brunner member of BNI Chipping Chapter Photo credit - Ankit Govind TAG Visual Media
Debra Brunner member of BNI Chipping Chapter Photo credit - Ankit Govind TAG Visual Media

A UK-based charity dedicated to revitalising Jewish communities and preserving their heritage is teaming up with a local business networking group to preserve the memory of more than 26,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

As reported by Jewish News in September 2023, The Together Plan (TTP) has for 11 years championed fundraising efforts to rediscover, preserve and commemorate more than 1200 remnants of headstones that once stood in the now destroyed Jewish cemetery in Brest, also known as Brest-Litovsk (Belarus).

To date, £100k has already been raised in pledges and donations. On Sunday May 19th and Monday May 20th, the charity will kick off a crowdfunding campaign to raise the remaining £100k needed to construct a memorial—which promises to be a poignant and evocative tribute, not only preserving the memory of those lost but also revealing the hidden beauty of a forgotten cemetery.

It will also tell the story of the community that was brutally erased during the Shoah. To this day it all remains hidden history.

Debra Brunner, co-founder and chief executive officer of The Together Plan, has been an active member of the BNI (Business Network International) Chipping business networking group in Mill Hill for eleven years. And, in a remarkable show of solidarity, members of the group, representing diverse backgrounds and faiths, are stepping up to support the campaign.


Rachel Brown, the group’s business coach, suggested an additional challenge to boost fundraising momentum. On May 19th, when the crowdfunding campaign launches, members of the group, as well as participating in the crowdfunding, will also cycle an exercise bike continuously for 36 hours.

Symbolically, they will simulate a route, covering 30 miles every hour, moving towards the site of the planned memorial construction. Throughout the 36 hours, images of European sites will be shared on social media, acknowledging the cyclist at each hour.

Headstones in storage in Brest. Photo credit The Together Plan

This united effort underscores the significance of preserving Jewish cultural heritage and amplifying the voices of isolated communities in Belarus, whose stories of suffering were suppressed during the Soviet era. The campaign aims to build a heritage site of vital importance to European civil society.

BNI Chipping Chapter Photo credit – Ankit Govind TAG Visual Media

The Together Plan’s office in Bushey will be open throughout the campaign, serving as the hub for the crowdfunding campaign and for the cycling challenge.

Participation in the campaign to create the memorial spans continents, with individuals from the UK, Netherlands, Greece, USA, Canada, and Australia joining in. Many supporters have personal connections to the project, including descendants of those buried in the cemetery, currently without markers.

Poignantly, a gravestone catalogued during the project belongs to the
great-great-grandmother of a gentleman in Seattle, Washington, who treasures it as a tangible link to his heritage.

  • To support the campaign on the 19th and 20th May, click here
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