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2500 Jewish Dead Remain Unburied As 4 Week Cemetery Strike Ends Rabbi Warns of Mix-ups

Rabbi Samuel Schrage, chairman of the Emergency Committee for Jewish Burial, warned after announcement of the settlement of a four-week cemetery workers strike Friday, that there was danger that caskets containing unburied bodies might be interred in the wrong plots in the post-strike rush to complete all interments.

Rabbi Schrage, in issuing the warning, urged Jewish families to be present Sunday, when burials of Jewish bodies are resumed after the Sabbath, to prevent mix-ups. He also said his committee was disbanding today. He said some 2,500 Jewish dead remained unburied when the settlement was announced and that caskets were piled high in toolsheds and garages, leading to the possibility of errors.

He said on the last day of the strike that 45 Jewish dead were buried by volunteers who had responded to the committee’s plea for volunteer grave-diggers. He estimated that 500 bodies had been buried by the volunteers since the strike, which began at one cemetery early in June and was extended on June 10 to all cemeteries in the metropolitan area, including 17 Jewish cemeteries.