By Kathryn Blaze Carlson

Ever since he ventured into the Ukrainian countryside and saw the remnants of bulldozed Jewish cemeteries, and ever since he saw Holocaust mass graves that lie unkempt in the forests there, Meylakh Sheykhet has fought for the right to remember.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Sheykhet has found and worked to restore more than 150 Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus, cemeteries that were destroyed or forgotten under Soviet rule.

With his greying beard and traditional Jewish dress, Mr. Sheykhet is known in Ukraine and beyond as the guardian of Jewish cemeteries. His voice is calm but impassioned as he speaks of his mission to preserve the history of a once-thriving Jewish community.