CONCERN ABOUT KEVORIM: Vilna Cemetery in Danger

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Leading rabbonim and activists are continuing an ongoing struggle to save Vilna’s 600-year-old Snipisek Jewish Cemetery, where the Chayei Adam and many other gedolei olam are interned, from a 13-year-old plan to renovate the long-abandoned Palace of Concerts and Sports the Soviets constructed over many of its kevorim in 1972.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri asked Foreign Ministry Director Yuval Rotam to speed up an Israeli decision being formulated regarding the status of Jewish cemeteries worldwide.

“This could threaten the integrity of every cemetery in the world,” said Bernard Fryshman of Brooklyn, who has filed a federal lawsuit regarding the case against the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. “If a government can go ahead and desecrate a cemetery in such an obvious fashion, what’s to prevent other governments from taking similar actions?”

Commission chairman Paul Packer, who’s visited Lithuania twice in the past six months countered that there’s never been more attention paid to the cemetery than under the Trump administration.

Lithuanian officials argue that the project has the approval of the London-based Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, which negotiated protective measures including signs notifying it is sacred ground. They have also committed to not break the building’s foundation or build beyond the current building, and to stop work on the new project if soil contains bones.

But activists object that the London organization doesn’t represent the Jews of Vilna and other places and have signed up close to 50,000 people on a petition.

{Matzav.com}

8 COMMENTS

    • The Chayey Odom was not moved, and the mechutan reburied next to the Gaon was Rav Noach Mindes Lifshitz, the author of Parpero’os Lechochma. They were niftar about a month apart, and were interred next to one another, sharing one matzeiva!!
      Also, the Chayey Odom wasn’t a mechuton of the Gaon, in its direct sense, as it was his son who married the Gaon’s granddaughter.

  1. I was in Bangkok, Thailand 50 years ago. There is a large Jewish Cemetery there. Some of the kevorim are 600-700 years old. It is in dire disrepair. I guess nobody cares.

    • That sounds like a case of neglect.

      The case of Vilna is different, it is a case where government sanctioned buildings on the cemetery grounds is the threat.

      • Bangkok was probably a trade route for Jewish merchants. There may have been small communities there over the past thousand years. Yes, the kevorim was that old. There were more Yidden there over the years then when I was there. I buried Mr. Gerson in that cemetery. After performing a tahara (without a mikvah available, I used buckets of water on the meis) I took him by horse and buggy to the cemetery where he was given a proper Jewish burial. His 2 sons came home, one from UK and one from US to say Kaddish. That was one of the few times that I had a minyon in my 3 years living in Bangkok.

  2. The group of Rabbanim that approved the desecration are based in London and were paid off to approve it.
    One Satmar Rebbe is opposed and the other sadly says it’s ok ( his follower is the one who took the bribe)

  3. The group of Rabbanim that approved the desecration are based in London and were paid off to approve it. Information is found on WikiLeaks….
    One Satmar Rebbe is opposed and the other sadly says it’s ok ( his follower is the one who took the bribe)

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