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Construction at cemetery site halted

A local construction firm will halt construction at the site of a Jewish cemetery in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.

Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, Dnepropetrovsk’s spiritual leader, told JTA that the agreement with ATB was  reached this week on shutting down the building of a shopping mall, but he did not provide details of the discussions.

Kaminetsky praised the company’s head, Gennady Butkevich, for responding to the concerns of the Jewish community, Jewish.ru reported.

The cemetery is no longer in use, but it contains gravesites of local Jews dating back to the 1930s. Soviet secret police also used the site to bury thousands of Soviet citizens after the cemetery’s closure.

Meanwhile, in Odessa, Ukraine, the Jewish community is having little success in stopping the construction of a mall on the site of a 1941 massacre by German soldiers.

The Nazis killed and cremated more than 25,000 people on the site. Recent work there turned up the remains of massacre victims.

Bulldozers were working at the site when JTA visited Wednesday.

The Odessa Jewish community sent a letter to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko demanding that all unearthed remains be found and returned to the site. It asked the government to ban construction and erect a memorial in its place.

The site owner and developer is a member of the Ukrainian legislature.

Ze’ev Elkin, a native Ukrainian and a lawmaker in Israel’s Knesset, sent a letter to Timoshenko as well, asking for the Ukrainian government to intervene.

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