A “Remembering the Forgotten Children Rededication Service” is scheduled for Sunday, September 22nd at 11:00 AM at the entrance of the newly renamed Hebrew Charitable Burial Ground, formerly known as the Maplewood Cemetery (313 Lebanon Street, Malden) to honor and dignify the children buried at the once-forgotten site. Lebanon Street will be closed from Pagum Street to Sylvan Street from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Attendees are encouraged to park at the Forestdale School, 74 Sylvan Street. Shuttles will be provided to the service from Forestdale School.
The Burial Ground is the second oldest Jewish cemetery in Massachusetts and was used from 1851 through 1914. It served as a burial site for poor Jewish immigrants with the vast majority being children who died of common childhood diseases such as measles, influenza and whooping cough. Of the 1,439 burials, only 181 were older than 20 years and most were 5 years old and under. Stan Kaplan, the Executive Director of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), who oversaw the restoration said there is no cemetery in North America having the number of children in this proportion. Stan spent countless hours at the Malden City Clerk’s office poring over death records to retrieve the names and ages of all who are buried in this long forgotten site.
The restoration project also includes a Children’s Memorial Garden complete with a memorial called “the Forgotten Children” in honor of those children resting in the unmarked graves. The rod iron entrance gate and walkway is lined with brick markers each inscribed with the name and age of a lost child. Additionally, 150 broken and damaged tombstones were repaired and restored by master craftsmen. Eventually, the hope is to install kiosks in the Burial Ground to display the names and ages of the deceased in the hopes of reconnecting visitors to their ancestors.