Tombstones Destroyed at Jewish Cemetery in Ukraine

November 9, 2020

Several headstones were destroyed inside the Jewish cemetery in Malyn, Ukraine. The graveyard vandalism was discovered last week, according to a Facebook post by Evgeny Gorodetsky, a Jewish-Ukrainian who has helped raise money for renovating the cemetery.

The city of Malyn, located about 62 miles northwest of the capital city Kiev, is home to small Jewish community of about thirty people, mostly elderly. Once numbering in the thousands, the local Jewish community was decimated during the Holocaust and many others left following the break up of the former Soviet Union. The remains of Holocaust victims and a monument to the city’s Jewish residents who were murdered in the Holocaust, is located in the center of the cemetery.

One of the destroyed headstones marked the grave of Faina and Gregory Getz, a husband and wife who were buried in 1965 and 1947, respectively. A new marble headstone that was recently installed by their families and featuring the couple’s portraits and a Star of David, was smashed to pieces.

The perpetrators also climbed into fenced burial plots to smash headstones, which collapsed against the fencing. Police do not yet have any leads in their investigation to find the culprits.

A couple of weeks earlier, headstones were desecrated at Jewish cemeteries in neighboring Moldova and Hungary.

In 2012, the Council of Europe adopted a nonbinding resolution designating responsibility for the upkeep and ongoing care of Jewish cemeteries to national governments. The resolution was based in part on a report that said Jewish cemeteries are “probably” more vulnerable than other cemeteries, given rising levels of anti-Semitism but also recognizing than many, if not most of the continent’s cemeteries no longer have local Jewish communities to care for them.

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