Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Murdered of Brisk Reburied

Remains of Holocaust victims laid to rest in Belarus 

MINSK, Belarus — Remains of more than 1,000 Holocaust victims were laid to rest on Wednesday in a Belarusian city on the border with Poland after a mass grave was discovered on a building site earlier this year.

Belarus was home to a large, vibrant Jewish community before World War II, and the discovery of remains of at least 1,214 people in January shocked many still scarred by memories of the Holocaust.

To the dismay of some Jewish leaders, officials stopped short of canceling the building permit on the site where remains of other victims might still be found, instead offering to bury the bones that were initially discovered.

The remains were buried in 120 coffins emblazoned with the Star of David in a ceremony at a cemetery outside town attended by city officials, Jewish community leaders and diplomats.

Among famous Brest natives is late Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who won a Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1978. His father was among those rounded up and killed.

Regina Simonenko, head of the local Jewish community Brisk, criticized authorities for rushing to bury the remains and continue with the building project instead of running DNA tests to establish identities. “We were told that DNA tests are expensive and take a long time,” Simonenko told The Associated Press.

“We’re talking about a large ghetto,” she said. “We’re not sure that there won’t be other burial sites discovered there.”

New York Times story.

Commentary by Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik.

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