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Posted on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

Historical marker replaced at site of state's first Jewish cemetery following vandalism

By Julie Baker

A damaged historical marker at the site of the state's first Jewish cemetery, located on the University of Michigan campus, has been replaced, the university has reported.


Tilly Shames, associate director of Jewish campus organization Hillel, left, joins Helen Aminoff, a member of Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, and Hillel leader Miriam Goldberg, a Syracuse, N.Y., junior in the School of Education, at the new historic marker replacing a plaque found damaged in July.

Photo courtesy of University of Michigan Photo Services, Scott C. Soderberg

The metal plaque was badly damaged in July. It appeared that someone had attempted to pry it off, snapping it in half, U-M police said.

The plaque sits on the southwest corner of East Huron and Fletcher streets near the Rackham Graduate School.

A new base was created to increase the angle of the marker, to better withstand weather; it was paid for through contributions. The marker's inscription was unchanged, the university reported.

According to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the cemetery was established between 1848 and 1849 when the Jews Society of Ann Arbor acquired burial rights to the land, which was next to what was a public cemetery.

Ann Arbor resident Helen Aminoff’s research led to the placement of the plaque in the early 1980s.

Contact Julie Baker at or 734-623-2576. Follow her on Twitter @juliebakera2.


Wystan Stevens

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Helen Aminoff's fascinating report on the history of &quot;The First Jews of Ann Arbor&quot; is available for reading online: <a href=""></a>

Jim Osborn

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

It would be real nice if a picture of the marker were shown in the article so we could read what it said.Not just &quot;the same as before&quot;


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

It is sad someone tried to damage this marker. I am glad it has been replaced.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 6:13 a.m.

I'm happy that the plaque was restored. I'm curious, though. What happened to the remains that were interred in the two cemeteries?


Thu, Dec 8, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

Thank you, Helen.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 4:17 p.m.

The remains of those buried in the Privater Cemetery--owned by the Jews Society of Ann Arbor were reinterred in the Forest Hill cemetery in 1900 to make way for houses that subsequently were demolished when the Rackham Building was constructed. Helen Aminoff

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Glad to see this done. Good job.