Burial in Israel scheme praised by first family

By Jessica Elgot, January 5, 2012
The Salts in the London shop they ran

The Salts in the London shop they ran

A British soldier who married a Holocaust survivor he helped to liberate from Bergen-Belsen has been laid to rest in Israel - the first person to buried there under a United Synagogue scheme.

Charles Salt, 94, died in late December. Family members flew out to Israel with the body for the ceremony at the US's plot in Eretz Hachaim cemetery on the outskirts of Bet Shemesh.

Mr Salt's son Martin explained that "my mother [Renee] always wanted to be buried in the Jewish state. We never thought it would be logistically possible until we heard about the scheme from the US. My mother said immediately she would reserve plots for herself and my father."

The family was concerned when "the cemetery told us no plot in the US section would be ready in time. But staff worked through the night to get one of the plots ready. We had a minyan from the local yeshivah.

"As we buried him, the sun came out over the Judean Hills and shone brightly. It was very emotional. I know we wondered at times if we were doing the right thing - it was so stressful to move him abroad. But I knew we had."

Of the 50 plots available in the US part of the cemetery, 32 have been purchased. The Israel burial plan costs £3,300 and the US organises transportation of the body.

US burial society head Melvyn Hartog said: "We are proud to have helped give Mr Salt the burial service he deserved.

"Mr and Mrs Salt have no family in Israel to help organise something like this and we have many other members in a similar position. I hope that, looking forward, other families who have opted for a burial at Eretz Hachaim will have a similarly poignant experience."

Last updated: 1:21pm, January 5 2012