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Jewish Gravesites in USSR Desecrated

December 15, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Four of the six mass graves of Jews massacred by the Nazis during World War II in the Zhitomer area of the Soviet Union were desecrated and destroyed earlier this month, it was reported here by the Al Tidom Association. In what the Association called the worst violence perpetrated on the Zhitomer burial area in several years, bones, remnants of garments and torn prayer shawls were left strewn amidst the graves.

The Jews interred at the Jewish cemetery on the outskirts of Zhitomer are the 20,000 victims systematically exterminated by the Nazis on Aug. 3, 1941. For 22 years afterwards, numerous requests by local Jews to be allowed to erect a proper fence and a monument at the sites fell on deaf ears. Then, in 1963, permission was granted for a wooden fence to be built and a small sign reading “Here lie buried residents of Zhitomer killed by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945.” No recognition that the victims were Jews was permitted, Al Tidom said.

Meanwhile, the Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry and Union of Councils for Soviet Jews reported that the Moscow “women’s liberation group,” composed of the wives of refusniks, announced it will hold a gathering on Dec. 22 to mark the eighth anniversary of the 1970 Leningrad trial. Natasha Federova, wife of Yuri Federov, sentenced there to 15 years, will speak.

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