Poland’s chief rabbi called for preserving the sanctity of a 19th century Jewish cemetery discovered during construction in Lodz.
Remains of the graveyard, which dates back to 1811, were unearthed during work on a new tram line in the central Polish town. It had been covered by a housing state erected when Poland was under postwar Communist rule.
Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich over the weekend urged Lodz planners to respect the Jewish ban on disturbing human remains.
“Our goal is to find a solution that will enable respecting the dead whilst doing good for the living,” he told Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
Upon learning of the discovery, Lodz Mayor Jerzy Kropiwnicki, known for his promotion of Jewish heritage, immediately canceled work on the tram and opened consultations with Schudrich.
Prior to World War II, Lodz was home to 233,000 Jews – one-third of the city’s population and the second-largest Jewish community in Europe outside Warsaw. Only a few thousand Lodz Jews survived the Holocaust; most later emigrated. Today the city has a small Jewish community.