Jewish cemetery desecrated in Lithuania, leaving bones scattered


(JTA) — A Jewish cemetery in Lithuania was desecrated and human remains were brought to the surface during digging connected to the laying of pipes.

Pictures showing freshly dug soil, garbage and bone fragments on the grounds of the cemetery of Siauliai, in northern Lithuania, began circulating Wednesday on social media amid reports of a cover-up of the evidence documented, the Skrastas news site reported Friday.

According to the article, the soil containing bone fragments was removed after being photographed by Sania Kerbel, the chairperson of the local Jewish community, possibly to conceal the evidence of the desecration. But Marijus Velička, a senior municipal representative, told Skrastas that he believes “this is not true.”

“The cemetery is a cultural heritage site and all digging is prohibited there,” Kerbel told the news site. “This is not just desecration of burial grounds, there is vandalism here.”

Police are investigating the incident.

Rabbinical authorities in Lithuania have been approached to deal with the fallout of the digging at Siauliai and bring the remains to a proper burial, the report said.

Grant Gochin of California in a Facebook post reacted passionately to the incident; his family had lived in Siauliai.

“Those bones could belong to my cousins,” he wrote Thursday. “The disrespect … This feels like a knife into the core of my being, how could someone hate this much? How could people be so callous? That is my family you see in those mounds.”

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