The municipality of Lviv, Ukraine, has announced that it will stop using Jewish headstones as construction material.
The Soviet Red Army used the tombstones in the years following the Second World War to pave the town’s streets and the central market, and to rebuild buildings that had been destroyed in the fighting.
The municipality came to its decision following an outcry by Lviv’s Jewish community in Lviv, who protested that the practice was still in place.
Lviv’s authorities have promised the Jewish community that the gravestones will be removed and transferred to the only local cemetery that was not destroyed during the war. The city’s two main synagogues were destroyed in the Nazi bombardment.
Sheikhet Meilakh, the Ukraine’s representative on the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, has been the driving force behind the preservation of Western Ukraine’s decaying Jewish cultural heritage for the past 25 years.
Speaking to the news channel JN1 about the tombstones, he said: “Every day there is a desecration of burials happening here. The marketplace blasphemes everybody.
“Many people have approached us about this, and we have many letters supporting the request to remove the stones from this market.”