NEW YORK (Jul. 15)
New York City Councilman Howard Golden has introduced a resolution urging President Nixon and Congress to protest the “desecration and destruction” of Jewish cemeteries in Eastern Europe. “Measures should be taken by the governments of the Eastern European countries to right the existing damage wherever possible, and to protect and preserve the cemeteries so that they will not pass into oblivion,” Golden said.
The Democratic lawmaker introduced the resolution after conferring with representatives of the Greater New York Conference on Soviet Jewry and the 1000-member World Conference of European Rabbis. Both organizations have also urged the federal government to take action to prevent damage to the cemeteries.
Golden cited reports that the governments of the Soviet Union, Poland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary have decided to appropriate and destroy over 1000 old Jewish cemeteries within their boundaries and replace them with housing, other developments and parks. He noted that it has also been reported that gravestones in many cemeteries in Eastern Europe have, during the past three decades, been destroyed, removed and used for other purposes.
The World Conference of European Rabbis, comprised of survivors of the Nazi holocaust, have also appealed to the President, stressing that many cemeteries, which, according to Jewish law are sanctified areas, “have been subjected to neglect and vandalism as well as to officially sanctioned destruction.” Rabbi Moses Rubin. Conference president, wired the President that since respect for the deceased “is the highest precept of human decency, we urge that you raise this issue with Soviet leaders in the strongest possible manner.”