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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Desecration of historic Jewish cemetery in Serbia "catastrophic"


Ivan Ceresnjesan was president of the Jewish community in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war of 1992-5. An architect, he now works for the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In this article from The Forward, he describes a 17th century Jewish cemetery in the city of Nis:
". . . used as a garbage dump, polluted by locally produced industrial waste, and in which gravestones had been dug up and used by local Roma, or Gypsies, for the repair of their houses and as household objects. A Roma family had moved into the prayer room at the site, and commenced to use the sarcophagus of a local rabbi, Rahamim Naftalija Gedalia, as a patio table and laundry-drying stand . . . a pigsty now sits in one part of the cemetery, [and, says Ceresnjesan,] 'most shattering of all, I found newly dug up graves and witnessed that the bones of the Jewish martyrs were scattered in mud and human waste.... ' "


Toilet paper on branch for those who use stones as their toilets.
This and other photos at http://www.makabijada.com/NisEnglish.htm


The World Jewish Congress offers background on Jewish communities in Serbia.