(JTA) — The Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia has protested the “catastrophic” conditions of the historic Jewish cemetery in the city of Nis and urged authorities to act against vandalism there.
Long abandoned and partially built over and destroyed, the cemetery, which dates back to the 17th century and is listed as a national cultural monument, was cleaned up in 2004.
In a statement issued Wednesday, however, the federation said that on a recent inspection visitors again found “destroyed and broken monuments, scattered bones, human waste and garbage.”
The federation appealed to the mayor of Nis, the Ministry of Culture, the Nis Institute for Monuments Protection and other authorities to “once and for all put an end to this vandalism.”
The statement said that the cemetery was at the mercy of private entrepreneurs who have destroyed one-third of the site by building factories, restaurants and warehouses, while another third of the area is inhabited by Roma families who have built a makeshift village over the graves.