Israel and Jewish leaders protest Ukraine plan to build apartments atop mass Holocaust graves


(JTA) — Planned construction in Ukraine atop mass graves of Holocaust victims has prompted strong-worded protests by Jewish community leaders and Israel.

The World Jewish Congress expressed its “outrage” on Tuesday in a statement about the prospect of construction of apartment buildings on the mass graves of thousands of Jews murdered in the central Ukrainian city of Poltava by the Nazis.

And Joel Lion, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, wrote a letter on June 13 to Oleksandr Shamota, the acting mayor of the town, demanding the plans be abandoned. Lion noted that Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum and research institution, determined the location of the mass graves based on multiple testimonies.

That construction is envisioned on the site of these mass graves “is deeply troubling,” WJC President Ronald Lauder said.

“It is critical in 2019, with rising nationalism and increasing attempts by some to whitewash history, that we work together to ensure that sites such as this one are preserved so they may serve as a reminder to the world of what can happen when hatred is permitted to thrive unchecked,” he said.

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