VILNIUS, Lithuania, July 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Jewish groups are appealing to the Lithuanian Government to halt the excavation and desecration of WWII era mass grave in Siauliai. Local authorities were quoted in the press that they decided to excavate the remains – found during road construction - and conduct anthropological testing, which is prohibited under the Halachah.
"In accordance with Halacha — Jewish Law — and indeed, common human values of all humankind, and the ethical standards of the European Union, the people murdered by the Nazis deserve to be left intact where they perished," Rabbi Chaim Burshtein, Lithuanian Chief Rabbi, wrote in a statement. "I ask you to immediately halt the works underway to disturb and move the remains of these hundreds of victims of the Lithuanian Holocaust, and to preserve the grave precisely where it stands."
The plea of Rabbi Burshtein, the respected Chief Rabbi of Lithuania, created an outcry worldwide. Rabbinic Organizations and famous institutions – including the Central Rabbinical Congress of USA and Canada - contacted the Lithuanian authorities to halt the desecration of this holy site, in accordance with the ruling of the country's leading Rabbi.
Asra Kadisha - the organization that is active to protect Jewish cemeteries worldwide and is currently fighting to stop the renovation of a sports palace in the Snipisek Jewish cemetery – contacted US authorities to intervene to preserve the mass graves. "Unfortunately, there is a total disconnect between the words and deeds of Lithuanian authorities. At a time when they are forming commissions and organizing conferences to preserve the Jewish heritage, the opposite is happening on the ground. We appeal to the Lithuanian authorities to fulfill their various commitments to honor and fully preserve the little that was left from the once-glorious Vilnius and Lithuanian Jewry, their cemeteries and rest-places," said Rabbi Lazar Stern, NY Chairman of Asra Kadisha.
"We call upon Lithuanian descendants and world-Jewry to contact the Lithuanian Embassies in their respective countries and the Lithuanian government to ask them to fully preserve the Jewish rest-places in their country – including the mass grave in Siauliai, and cancel plans to renovate and reestablish an entertainment center in the Snipisek Jewish cemetery," Rabbi Stern concluded.
Contact: Rabbi Lazar Stern