Bagnówka is a district of Bialystok, which contains the largest Jewish cemetery in north-eastern Poland. This cemetery is located next to the Catholic cemetery, which in turns adjoins the Orthodox cemetery. These three cemeteries in Bagnówka that lie peacefully next to each other are for us a potent symbol of what we are seeking to achieve - partnership and good-neighborliness with the varied religious and ethnic groups that past and present called Poland home. Even though this region was frequently the scene of conflict and human tragedy, it gave birth to some of Europe's greatest contributions in the realm of religion and culture. The winds of history and the harsh necessities of daily life scattered many of the inhabitants of these lands all over the world, but today their descendants are searching for their family roots and discovering a new kind of pride and interest in their original national identity which they are keen to pass on to their children. We wish to help them in this.
The history of the Jews in Poland and also their Jewish cultural legacy is our specialty. Our colleagues include the authors of many books and articles on this subject; they are well-known in the United States, Poland and Israel and have been responsible for many exhibitions devoted to the Jewish legacy in Eastern Europe. Our collections are used by museums and eminent historians from all over the world. We extend our invitation to all those who wish to visit online the sites of their family tragedy, to experience what remains of the magical atmosphere of the former shtetl, to visit famous centers of Jewish culture and also those places that are indissolubly linked to the tragedy of the Holocaust. We also cover Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine, for without these countries it would be difficult to imagine the history of Polish and European Jews.
We offer our visitors - scholars, students, internet travelers or individuals with ancestral ties to Poland - the opportunity to join us in revisiting the past and participate in learning of the present. Our galleries on history, culture, cemeteries, houses of worship, wooden architecture, maps and more feature nearly 60,000 images (and select videos) from Poland and its neighboring countries of Lithuania, Belarus and the Ukraine as these countries share with Poland a common history, ancestry and family ties.
Ultimately, the Bagnowka Project has been set up by a group of historians, linguists, journalists, naturalists and guides, united by a common interest in the history of Poland and the eastern borderlands, and their cultural and ethnic legacy. Our members include authors, collectors of old photographs and maps, professors of diverse languages, specialists in archival work and genealogy, and people responsible for mounting exhibitions and creating internet sites dealing with these matters. It is our sincere wish that the passion we share in preserving and disseminating the resources gathered here will inspire our audience to recognize that both the richness and harshness experienced by the varied cultures of Poland must be preserved in order to understand the present and move toward a more peaceful and tolerant future. This wish again is reflected in the symbol of our project - Bagnówka, three distinct religious cemeteries that today adjoin peacefully in northeastern Poland.