Mapping Jewish life & death in the Zittau region

MAZEWA is an international youth project which centres on the Jewish cemetery in Zittau, a small town located in the borderlands between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. During two volunteer projects, each lasting two weeks, with participants from all over Europe we will approach one of the last authentic historical spaces of Jewish life as a place of digital leaning and remembrance. The first project will take place in July, the second in August 2021.

A transcultural encounter in the heart of Europe

In the Summer of 2021, we invite young volunteers from Europe to be part of our youth projects on Jewish cultural heritage in Eastern Saxony.


In July and August 2021 we invite young volunteers from all over Europe to make the Jewish cemetery accessible as a place of digital learning – and to explore the history of life and death of Jews in the Zittau region. We will focus on Jewish funeral traditions and will find out what a tombstone reveals about a deceased person. We will speak about how funeral culture transforms over time and which impact the Shoah had on these. Although the Jewish cemetery in Zittau is quite small, its tombstones show a variety of different shapes, materials and symbols, relating to different biographies and places beyond East Saxony.

We will create a 3D-tour of the cemetery, including the local mourning hall which the National Socialists destroyed in 1938. Trips to Görlitz, Liberec (CZ) and other regional sites are also part of the programme, to find out more about the rich and varied history of Jewish life in what is now the borderlands between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany.

The Zittau Jewish Cemetery is an exceptional place in an exceptional environment: built and maintained by a small yet thriving Jewish community, defiled and partly destroyed during the Shoah, neglected and violated in the following decades, and mostly forgotten by the local population in the German-Polish-Czech border region. While most traces of Jewish life in the town of Zittau have vanished, the cemetery still exists and has preserved Jewish cultural heritage, mostly in the shape of many a “Mazewa” – traditional headstones.

To find out more, go to or follow us on Facebook.

MAZEWA is a cooperation between the Hillersche Villa gGmbH, Verein Junger Freiwilliger VJF e.V., Hatikva e.V. in Dresden, the Jewish community in Dresden and Liberec (CZ), Besht Yeschiva Dresden e.V. and the city of Zittau.