Belarus mayor promises to protect cemetery


The mayor of a Belarusian city has promised to protect a Jewish cemetery that has been partly dug up by developers, with hundreds of tombstones recently discovered piled up near the construction site.

Brest mayor Alexander Palishenkov made the announcencement after reports began to surface in the international press that swathes of the city had been rebuilt using Jewish tombstones following the Second World War.

The Together Plan (TTP), a UK-based charity supporting impoverished communities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the desecration of gravestones in Brest.

Together with Finchley Reform Synagogue, the charity has raised £1,000 to erect a security fence around the 1,500 tombstones that have been collected to date and create a memorial out of the stones.

Debra Brunner, co-director of TTP, will be meeting next week with the Israeli Ambassador in Belarus, Yousef Shagal, to discuss the issue.

She attended the Knesset earlier this month to talk about the fate of the headstones.

I24 News, a news channel based in Tel Aviv, has also shown interest in the story and is discussing the possibility of doing a report from Brest on the issue.

The charity has also been approached by the Belarusian Embassy in London as the government is determined to do more to commemorate the Holocaust in a country where a third of the population perished at the hands of the Nazis.

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