KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — One of Sholom Aleichem’s homes in Kiev was demolished on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.
A building in Kiev where the famed Yiddish writer, born Solomon Rabinovich on Feb. 18, 1859, lived in 1905 was destroyed over the weekend by the private company KievZhytloInvestManagement, despite instructions by city authorities to the company to suspend the demolition in order to clarify the case.
The site is being prepared for a new hotel for the Euro-2012 soccer tournament, according to reports.
“This is a disgraceful act to destroy that building,” said Ilya Levitas, a president of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, who addressed a petition to the deputy prime minister of Ukraine and Kiev authorities on Jan. 21, requesting that the city order a stop or suspension of the demolition.
“Activities of KievZhytloInvestManagement Company, that is an owner of the building, shocked the public this past weekend," Irina Zalyuzhenkova, an inspector for the Association for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture, told JTA. "In spite of city authority instructions and a visit to the site, the company destroyed the building. They could find no other site.
“Now we can see that money is more important than the memory of a famous Yiddish writer,” added Zalyuzhenkova, a native Ukrainian who earlier had sent a petition to city authorities.
Mikhail Kalnitzky, a historian of Kiev, said Sholom Aleichem lived at 35 Bolshaya Vasylkivska St., apartment 1 in Kiev.
"The local authorities’ fault is that they didn’t put the building on the register list of state or municipal monuments of architecture," he said. "That is why the private company is destroying the building.”
Evgeny Chervonenko, a first deputy of the Kiev mayor and a prominent Jewish leader, told JTA that the Kiev authority will establish a committee to clarify the case properly.