The Israeli rescue and recovery volunteer organization ZAKA asked participants at Thursday’s World Holocaust Forum to assist in recovering bone fragments from the site of the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau and ensuring their proper burial according to Jewish law.
Besides providing rescue services, as part of its mandate, ZAKA retrieves bodies and physical remains from terror attacks and crime scenes and ensures that Jewish funerary rituals are properly observed for them.
On a recent trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau, a ZAKA delegation, together with the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe, discovered a plethora of human bone fragments.
More than a million people, 90% of them Jews, were systematically murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau and their bodies cremated. However, bone fragments often survive the cremation process, and ZAKA noted that many of the remains were found in the ponds that have developed around the crematoria.
ZAKA Chairman Meshi Zahav officially urged World Holocaust Forum attendees to aid in the bones’ retrieval, saying, “This is a complex engineering and logistics project that requires the guidance and advice of engineers and hydrologists.”
“We call upon the heads of states participating in the World Holocaust [Forum] — before dealing with commemoration of the victims, it is more important to deal with their dignity,” he declared.
“We appeal to you with a humanitarian request,” Zahav continued, “to help carry the burden of this complex project, so that, after 75 years, the bones of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust who were murdered in sanctification of the Divine name will be brought to rest.”
The World Holocaust Forum is currently being held in Jerusalem. Attended by 46 heads of state and other world leaders, it is intended to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
The Algemeiner (c) 2019 . Benjamin Kerstein