Flames Ravage Russian Jewish Cemetery
(JTA) — A fire that raged for hours in the city of Voronezh in Russia consumed large parts of its 19th century Jewish cemetery.
The fire appears to have started Friday in the immediate vicinity of the cemetery in the country’s northwest, the news website 36on reported Monday. Police are investigating whether it was the result of arson directed against the Jewish cemetery in an anti-Semitic attack, the report said. The Jewish cemetery in Voronezh has been targeted in such attacks in the past.
Some of the cemetery’s graves date back to the early 18th century.
Pictures of the cemetery showed charred vegetation covering substantial parts of the fence area as well as several headstones with extensive damage from the fire. Some wooden monuments also were consumed by the fire, according to the report.
“We are very worried,” the local rabbi, Avigdor Nosikov, told the news website. “The state of the cemetery after the fire causes pain to everyone.”
Poland and Slovakia alone have more than 2,000 Jewish cemeteries between them, many of them in disrepair. Just the fencing for all of Poland’s 1,400 Jewish cemeteries would cost approximately $32 million, according to the country’s chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich.
This story "Flames Ravage Russian Jewish Cemetery" was written by JTA.