Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 11:52AM
Drew Wolfe

More Than 1,000 Holocaust Victims Are Buried In Belarus After Mass Grave Discovered

"More than 1,000 victims of the Holocaust were buried Wednesday in Belarus, some 70 years after they were killed in the genocide."

"Their bones were unearthed this winter by construction workers as they began to build luxury apartments in the southwestern city of Brest, near Poland."

"Soldiers brought in to excavate found undisputed evidence of a mass grave: skulls with bullet holes, shoes and tattered clothing worn on the last day of people's lives."

"Because the newly uncovered mass grave was on the site of a wartime ghetto, the victims were believed to be Jews slaughtered by Nazis. Many Jewish people had been forced to live behind barbed wires in the Brest ghetto before they were executed."

"On Wednesday, their remains were placed into 120 coffins decorated with the Star of David, according to The Associated Press. A burial and ceremony was held at a cemetery outside of the city."

"'I think it's very late, but better late than never,' Marcel Drimer, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor from Poland, told NPR."

"I am upset that the officials want to build on the sacred site," he added.

Authorities permitted the apartment construction to continue, prompting locals and leaders in the Jewish community to denounce the way the mass grave discovery was handled.

"A petition to stop construction emerged online, with signatures supporting a proposal for the grounds to become a memorial park."

"The Union of Belarusian Jewish Public Associations and Communities expressed dismay that the construction site had not been adequately examined before construction started, "even though, according to eyewitnesses and historians evidence, it was the place where mass executions of the Jewish population of the city took place," the group said in a statement in March."

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