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Prague's Jewish cemetery to go digital

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016

One of Prague's most emblematic places, the Old Jewish Cemetery made up of 12,000 tombstones all crammed into a tight space behind two synagogues, is being digitised in an effort to list all the people buried there.

More than a century after it stopped being used as a burial ground, the Jewish Museum in Prague, which manages the site, has proposed giving order to the disorder of the graves, which, in some cases, go down four layers into the earth.

According to Daniel Polakovic, a historian of Prague's Jewish community, at least 30,000 people are buried in the cemetery, which was established in the 15th century and spans only one hectare.

"We are in the middle of a digital geodetic plan. It's a complete photographic documentation," he tells EFE.

The tombstones transcriptions are being catalogued on a datbase and will be accessible on the internet, Polakovic says.

There is no date for the launch of the database due to the quantity of names and information that needs to be processed.

As well as information about those buried there, the gravestones include information about the parents and families of the deceased, so the database could amount to some 100,000 names, Polakovic says.

As such, the descendents of Prague's Jewish community and visitors from all over the world will be able to know exactly who is buried in the disordered cemetery - one of the world's oldest surviving Jewish burial sites.

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