Crossposted from Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments
The fate of long-neglected Jewish sites in the small, poor and newly independent country of Kosovo has recently received some attention from the United States. On December 14, 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga signed the Agreement on the Protection and Preservation of Certain Cultural Properties between the U.S. and Kosovo, in Washington, D.C.
At the signing, Clinton said: “This is a really important agreement that we are signing today, because the United States has a special interest in helping to preserve cultural heritage sites in countries around the world, because the vast majority of Americans are immigrants and descendants of immigrants. So the work of this commission is of great importance to us.” (You can read all of Clinton’s remarks here.)
The agreement, one of many originating over the past two decades from the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, sets commitments and procedures for each side to protect cultural heritage sites, especially of religious and ethnic minorities. In the past two decades the Commission has given special attention to the documentation and protection of Jewish and Holocaust-related sites, mostly through sponsorship of site surveys and by encouraging U.S. donors to support conservation, restoration and commemoration projects.