Sunday, April 13, 2008

  • Sunday, April 13, 2008
  • Elder of Ziyon
From AP: (h/t Global Freezing)
GOMEL, Belarus - Workers rebuilding a sports stadium on the site of an 18th century Jewish cemetery in Belarus say they have no choice but to consign the bones to city dumps.

"It's impossible to pack an entire cemetery into sacks," said worker Mikhail Gubets, adding that he stopped counting the skulls when the number went over 100.

But critics say it's part of a pattern of callous indifference toward Belarus' Jewish heritage that was prevalent when the country was a Soviet republic and hasn't changed.

The stadium in Gomel, Belarus' second largest city and a center of Jewish life until World War II, is one of four that were built on top of Jewish cemeteries around the country.

The Gomel cemetery was destroyed when the stadium was built in 1961, but the remains lay largely undisturbed until this spring when reconstruction began and a bulldozer turned up the first bones.

A Jewish leader in Gomel, Vladimir Gershanok, says he asked the builders to put the bones into sacks for reburial at a cemetery that has a monument to Holocaust victims.

"We know we can't stop the construction but we're trying to minimize the destruction," Gershanok said.

But city authorities have ruled that the construction can go ahead because the bones are more than 50 years old.

Igor Poluyan, the city official responsible for building sports facilities, says he doesn't understand the problem. "If something was scattered there, we'll collect it and take it away," he said.

A history professor, Yevgeny Malikov, sees the cemetery as part of the city's heritage. He has filled three sacks with bones and pulled aside two of the unearthed marble gravestones. Other gravestones are piled near a trash bin or already carried away. Some of the bones have been carried off by stray dogs.

"The history of the city is being thrown into the dump together with the human remains," Malikov said.

Jews began settling in Gomel in the 16th century and by the end of the 19th century made up more than half of the population. In 1903, they made history by being the first to resist a pogrom, defending 26 synagogues and prayer houses.

Most of Gomel's 40,000 Jews managed to flee before the Nazis arrived. The 4,000 who remained were shot in November 1941. Only a few thousand Jews now live in the city of 500,000.

Oleg Korzhuyev, 38, who lives on Karl Marx Street at the edge of the site, said the workers aren't happy about digging up human bones, "but if they find a gold tooth then it's a real celebration."

Another city, Grodno, experienced a similar problem while reconstructing a stadium built on a Jewish cemetery. The excavated earth and bones were scattered into a ravine.

Jewish graves also have been disturbed in neighboring Ukraine.

"It's not just a Jewish issue, it's this general Soviet legacy," said Ukraine's chief rabbi. Yakov Blaikh. "They didn't respect people while they were alive and they don't respect them when they are dead."

This month, the Jewish community in the city of Vinnyntsa was able to stop construction of an apartment building on a pre-World War II Jewish cemetery.

Ukrainian authorities apologized, saying they did not realize the construction would affect the cemetery. Belarus, on the other hand, has been "one of the least responsive countries on all Jewish issues," according to Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israeli Simon Wiesenthal Center.

"The government is simply erasing Jewish history from the face of this land," said Yakov Basin, vice president of the Belarusian Jewish Council.

Before the war, about 1 million Jews lived in Belarus and 800,000 of them died in the Holocaust. Today they number 27,000 in the country of 10 million.

Belarus' president, Alexander Lukashenko, has shown little respect for Jewish culture. In a radio broadcast in October that provoked a sharp protest from the Israeli government, he suggested that when Jews were numerous in another town, Bobruisk, they turned it into "a pigsty."

"You know how Jews treat the place where they live. Look at Israel; I was there," he said.
More on anti-semitism in Belarus:
Anti-Semitic acts involving Jewish cemetery desecrations, graffiti and attacks on community property increased across Belarus in 2002-03. Cemetery desecrations have taken place in Minsk, Borisov, Vitebsk, Bobruysk, and other cities. In Minsk, the Moscow and Severnoye Cemeteries were vandalized in July 2002. Two dozen tombstones were toppled or smashed in each location in a clearly coordinated effort. In Borisov, the July 2002 desecration of the Jewish cemetery was one of several acts against Jewish property in the city. In May 2003, vandals heavily damaged a memorial bench, presented by then-President Bill Clinton on his 1994 visit, at the Kuropaty gravesite in Minsk; the bench had been repaired and rededicated in January 2002 following a similar attack. Also in May 2003, Minsk’s Yama memorial and a Holocaust memorial in Timkovichi were both defaced. The Jewish Sunday school, the Jewish Charity Center and the office of the Jewish Youth Organization in Borisov have also been targets of recent attacks. No suspects have been identified in any of these cases.

The two most recent cases of cemetery desecration occurred in June 2003, in Grodno and Mogilev. In Grodno, a soccer stadium is being expanded over a 300-year-old Jewish cemetery; construction has destroyed and unearthed remains. The Jewish community has appealed to the Belarussian government and Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe (CPJE), as well as the world and European governing bodies for soccer (FIFA and UEFA) in an attempt to stop the construction. In another recent incident, the Jewish cemetery in Mogilev was opened by local authorities to non-Jewish burials, resulting in the destruction of Jewish graves, and crosses have been erected at the entrance to the cemetery.

Anti-Semitic graffiti in public places also escalated in 2002-03. In addition to the swastika – seen on walls, fences, doorways and underground passages throughout Belarus, often accompanied by the abbreviation for the neo-Nazi Russian National Unity party (RNE) – newer symbols and combinations have been introduced.

The Belarus branch of the RNE movement, led by former Lukashenko aide Andrei Valliulin, has increased its activities markedly since early 1999. It has branches in 11 cities, and holds nationalistic and anti-Semitic demonstrations unhindered by the authorities. In November 2002, lawmaker Suarhey Kastsyan made openly anti-Semitic remarks in regard to community attempts to save threatened properties, sparking criticism from the Jewish community.


EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz





For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts in recent years


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Interesting Blogs


#PayForSlay Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews AmericanZionism Amnesty analysis anti-semitism anti-Zionism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art Ashrawi ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Bernie Sanders Biden history Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Comix Community Standards conspiracy theories COVID-19 Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Ellen Horowitz Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry Ghassan Daghlas gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow IJ Benjamin Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia infographic international law interview intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya James Zogby jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter Joe Biden John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Judith Butler Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Mairav Zonszein Malaysia Marc Lamont Hill Marjorie Taylor Greene max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Lynk Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO Nick Cannon NIF Noah Phillips norpac NSU Matrix NYT Occupation offbeat olive oil Omar Barghouti Omri Boehm Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB philosophy poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals RealJerusalemStreets reference Reuters Richard Falk Richard Landes Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians Seth Rogen settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Sovereignty Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman Tlaib TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Trump Lame Duck Test Tunisia Turkey UAE Accord UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra vaccination Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks Winstanley work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zionophobia Ziophobia Zvi

Blog Archive