On 23 September 2021, a ceremony was held to ceremonially present the marking of the Jewish cemetery in Orla. The event, initiated by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, was jointly organised by POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, and the Orla Municipality Public Library.
At the ceremony, an information board located in the cemetery in Polna Street in Orla (Polish: ul. Orla) was presented for the first time. The plaque, shaped like a matzeva, uses a modern form of commemoration in the form of a QR code, which refers to a more detailed description of the necropolis in Orla published on the monument.pl website.
Mrs Irena Odzijewicz, the Secretary of the Orla Municipality, opened the ceremony and welcomed the guests. Then, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, Jarosław Sellin, took the floor. The representative of the Ministry pointed out that the aim of the joint programme of POLIN Museum and the National Institute of Cultural Heritage is to "make it possible for commemorations to be celebrated in 1,200 places so that the memory of the important community in many Polish towns, villages, and cities would be present for centuries and cultivated thanks to such permanent markings".
Zygmunt Stępiński - Director of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, recalled the history of the Jews of Orla, which dates back to the 16th century. He also talked about the great importance that cemeteries have for Jewish communities. Afterwards, Anna Czerwińska-Walczak, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, thanked the personnel of the Institute for their work in documenting 1,200 Jewish necropolises throughout Poland.
Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis of the Jewish Community of Warsaw said a prayer for those buried in the Orla cemetery.
The official speeches ended with a statement by Mitrat Sławomir Chwojko in which he recalled the long co-existence of the Jewish, Orthodox, and Catholic communities.
The organisers then invited everyone present to honour the dead, in accordance with Jewish tradition - by placing stones on matzevot.
After the ceremony at the cemetery, the participants visited the Orla synagogue, whose history was presented by the mayor of Orla, Marek Chmielewski.
The ceremony was preceded by accompanying events aimed at the local community. Educational workshops for pupils of Primary School in Orla were held on 9 and 10 September this year. They allowed the participants to discover another dimension of their own town's history and broaden their knowledge about traditions connected with Jewish cemeteries. The school also received an educational kit titled "Museum in a Box. Town of Malka" (Polish: "Muzeum w pudełku. Miasteczko Malki"), containing replicas of objects and archival photographs from POLIN Museum's collection to be used in an educational board game in grades 4–6. The facility will use the kit for educational activities.
The presentation of the plaques and the accompanying programme was implemented within the framework of the "Jewish Cultural Heritage project (Component IV: Neighbours – Witnesses: Objects, People, Stories, Priority 2 Programme of describing and marking selected Jewish cemeteries), financed from a grant awarded to POLIN Museum by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway through the EEA Grants and from the national budget. The project aims to protect and popularise the heritage of Polish Jews through educational and cultural programmes.
The cemetery commemoration was carried out within the framework of the programme Marking of Jewish Cemeteries in the Republic of Poland carried out by the National Institute of Cultural Heritage and financed by the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sport.
The Orla Municipality Public Library (Polish: Gminna Biblioteka Publiczna w Orli) is a local partner of the programme.