The gravestones of a Jewish cemetery in the Belarusian town of Brest have been used as construction material for the past several years, the Daily Mail reported over the weekend.
“The headstones have been turning up in locations all over Brest over the past six years, with around 1,500 discovered so far,” the newspaper said.
In May, hundreds of gravestones were uncovered during the construction of a new supermarket. Debra Brunner, co-director of a charity that operates in the area, said she was shocked when she learned of this practice.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “It was bizarre. They were everywhere. The builders were very kind, though, and concerned and wanted to know what they should do with them.”
The gravestones were taken from a cemetery vandalized during the Soviet era, and residents were apparently unaware of the purpose the stones served. According to the report, residents recently approached a local priest to inquire about the nature of the gravestones and were told to refrain from harming the artifacts because of their religious significance.