Rabbi of the Congress of Jewish religious organizations and associations Haim Bustein made a statement to inform that Russia’s Oktyabrskaya railway had destroyed over 40 graves at the St.Petersburg Jewish Preobrazhenskoye cemetery on June 26-27. More graves are planned to be destroyed. The area on which the graves were destroyed, is a part of the Jewish municipal cemetery, burial started there in 1960.
Over the whole period since 1960 up to now, state and local authorities had no objections concerning the burial on this area. The Rabbi says, the Oktyabrskaya railway destroyed several Jewish graves for the sake of its broadening. Hundreds of relatives of the buried Jews have been seriously hurt, they suffer emotionally because it will be impossible to come to the graves to honor memory of the dead. According to the Judaism laws, burial is an integral part of the human life course after the death, it is strictly prohibited to disturb people’s peace after the death. Every community and confession considers its debt to keep peace of the dead. The Rabbi is indignant with the fact that the Oktyabrskaya railway did not contact Jewish organizations for permission to destroy the graves. Instead, the railway authorities ordered to destroy the graves and tombstones without any authorization. Leaders of Jewish communities consider it their duty to protect graves of the ancestors from destruction.
The Jewish Congress has already appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office for institution of criminal proceedings on the article #244 of Russia’s Criminal Code. The Rabbi says, the community hopes to win support of the world Jewish community, Israel Embassy, mass media, St.Petersburg governor and President’s envoy to the north-western district in solution of the problem. The community asked them for taking emergency measures to suspend works at the cemetery performed by the railway authorities. It is said that broadening of the railway at the expense of the cemetery area should necessarily be coordinated with the Jewish community. The Rabbi insists that the authorities mentioned should pay special attention to the problem and start investigation of the problem.
Alexandra Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/north-west/2002/07/08/43803.html