Leslie Nolan of Southport is a Peace Corps volunteer in Nadvirna, in present-day Ukraine. During World War Two, when the town was part of Galicia, its Jewish community was all but decimated.
In addition to her formal assignment, Leslie -- who is not Jewish -- is racing the clock to raise funds to clean up, fence, and preserve the local Jewish cemetery, a one-acre property containing some 5,000 graves. The total cost of the preservation project is 30,000 euro.
Federation CEO David Weisberg connected Leslie's husband, Doug Bonnell, to a consultant for the
European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative
, who helped Leslie secure a €15,000 matching grant.
Leslie has received a €5,000 donation from Westport resident Susan Wexler and her brother, Steven Turner, whose father was born in Nadvirna in 1910 and whose family fled during World War One to Vienna, only to become refugees again when the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938.
Leslie must raise an additional €10,000 by Aug. 1 in order to secure the ESJF matching grant and complete the project.