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Ancient Jewish artifacts found in Russia

Ancient artifacts bearing Judaic symbols were found in a southern Russia city.

The five stone fragments unearthed in Volograd bear Stars of David as well as inscriptions in Hebrew.

Archaeologists passed the fragments on to a local synagogue. One inscription reads “Remember Torah” and another contains the commandments “Don’t kill” and “Don’t steal,” according to Vologograd Chief Rabbi Zalman Joffe.

Local scientists date the findings to the early 1900s, when the town of Tsaritsyn existed on the lands occupied by contemporary Volgograd. Between 1924 and 1961 the town was renamed Stalingrad, and in 1961 was given its current name. It now has a population of 1 million.

Stalingrad was destroyed in a battle between Soviet and German armies in the fall of 1942. Only a handful of buildings remained intact, including the main city’s synagogue erected in the beginning of the 20th century.

Valentina Serebryanaya, a professor at the Volgograd Architecture and Construction Institute, told JTA that architect Sergei Sena discovered the fragments during excavations where an old merchant’s house razed during fighting in 1942 had stood. The destroyed building housed a Jewish school in Tsaritsyn at the turn of 20th century, according to Serebryanaya.

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