Our team

Philip Carmel
Chief Executive Officer
Phil has been Chief Executive Officer of the ESJF since its foundation in 2015. Born in the UK, Phil has lived in Israel, France and Belgium and was International Relations Director of the Conference of European Rabbis based in Brussels, where he set up and was Executive Director of the Lo Tishkach Foundation, a database of Europe’s Jewish cemeteries. He was subsequently Senior Advisor on European Affairs for the European Jewish Congress and a co-chair of the Global Forum on Antisemitism. He lives in Birmingham.
Oleksandr Bessarab
Office Director
Oleksandr trained as a construction engineer at Kyiv University of Construction and Architecture. Before joining ESJF, he worked in projects related to construction and civil engineering in Ukraine, Sweden and Dubai, and he managed large engineering projects. As an expert in drone technology and its application, today he is responsible for training and accompanying ESJF’s survey teams in the field, and works as a project manager overseeing the technical aspects of the project and data processing.
Klara Vlahčević Lisinski
Project Manager EC Grant
Klara is originally from Croatia, and she obtained her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia in Zagreb and Paris. Her master's, EU and International Relations, Klara did at CIFE - Centre International de Formation Européenne, in Nice, Berlin and Rome, and she is currently doing her second master's on Conflict, Peace and Security. She was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey Fulbright exchange fellowship program. For more than a decade she has worked as a journalist, editor, project manager and social entrepreneur. She is an active social activist privately and in her work, and at ESJF she will be managing all aspects of the project.
Sophie Pownall
Communications and Media Officer
Sophie Pownall handles internal and external communications, manages the ESJF’s social media accounts, and acts as a liaison to the press. She recently completed her Master’s degree in Contemporary European studies at the University of Bath. Her academic interests include feminism, democracy, social movements, memory politics and culture and EU foreign policy. She earned her undergraduate degree in French, German and European studies at the University of Bath. She works voluntarily as a Communications Officer at think-tank EuropaNova Germany and the Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung. She enjoys reading, speaking foreign languages and doing Ballroom and Latin dancing.
Agnes Kende
Legal Research Office
Agnes is from Budapest, Hungary and joined the ESJF team as the new Legal Research Officer and she will contribute to address the diverse legal statuses of Jewish cemeteries. Agnes has been teaching European Jewish history, memory politics to University and IB students and finishing her doctoral degree at Central European University, that focuses on the political instrumentalization of the Holocaust memory in Hungary. Throughout her various academic experiences both in Hungary and abroad (Italy, Israel, and Germany) she developed strong appreciation towards Jewish cultural heritage.
Oleksandra Fishel
Educational Projects Officer
Oleksandra Fishel is a specialist in the study of Jewish cemeteries and headstone inscriptions on the ground. She studied at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of Moscow State University (Department of Hebrew Studies) and held an internship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently Oleksandra is about to complete a PhD in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She also lectures on Jewish epigraphics at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. At the ESJF, Oleksandra is responsible for educational programs.
Olena Kolb
Public Sector Liaison Ambassador
Olena Kolb is a journalist, tour guide and researcher of Jewish history in Eastern Europe and the co-author of the manuals for tour guides with a special focus on the Jewish life on the frontier before World War II. She is a member and organizer of more than 100 expeditions to study Jewish cemeteries. She graduated from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. In the ESJF, Olena Kolb is responsible for communication with local authorities of fence sites as well as the organization of educational activities for representatives of local authorities, tourism, culture, education departments, teachers, librarians, museum representatives, and local historians. She also organises educational meetings with school pupils. She is based between Lviv and Kyiv.
Kamila Dąbrowska
Public Sector Liaise Ambassador
PhD holder in cultural anthropology, specialist in memory studies and Polish-Jewish relations, postwar Polish history and Polish Jews migrations/expulsions after the war. Author of articles and a doctoral thesis on individual and collective memory of Polish Jews after the Second World War. A lecturer at the Institute of Ethnography and Cultural Anthropology of the University of Warsaw, and at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. A long-term employee of POLIN Museum in Warsaw, supervising various projects for adults, anti-discriminatory projects addressed to the Polish Police and managing the museum-guide team. Board member of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and JCC Warsaw. In ESJF she serves a role of the Public Sector Liaise Ambassador, responsible for the Regional Cemetery Association Project and involved in the Masterclasses Project.
Kateryna Malakhova
Historical Researcher
Katya holds a PhD in philosophy from the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. She was previously a member of the National Academy of Sciences in Ukraine. A specialist in 18th-century Jewish history, hasidism, and Haskalah, she is the lead historian at ESJF.
Kate Kliuchnyk
Survey and Mapping Officer
At ESJF, she was responsible for the production of photo and video materials, as well as for the development of catalogs, presentations, and the administration and design of the website. Now she is currently coordinating research teams.
Ian Galeevskii
Senior Surveyor
Ian has a background in tourism development. He gained practical experience in Turkey and Thailand in various hotels and developing sightseeing services. Before joining ESJF, he worked in Thailand as a hotel guide, catering to tourist groups from across Asia and Europe. He is based between Uzhgorod and Kiev.
Our team