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Saving mass-grave question

Question:

It was recently shown to me that a Jewish mass grave in Poland is being allowed to be desecrated through the inaction of Polish Jewish community headed by…. I have taken upon myself to do the necessary to protect that mass grave site according to halacha. Since my teacher passed away 10+ years ago I have no other qualified authority to turn to for advice and I hope you will guide me in this undertaking.

  1. Am I allowed to purchase the mass-grave site to turn it into a cemetery and if so, what halachic conditions exist?
  2. How far beyond the known bones should I place a wall or fence?
  3. The first bone that was found in the location was 1.5 meters below the surface. How much more earth must be placed in the location above the surface.
  4. It is possible that some Polish citizens who tried to hide Jews are also thrown there. What is the halacha if non-Jews may be buried there also?

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

Before anything, I would like to express my utmost respect to you for doing this chesed shel emes. The kedoshim that are buried there will be very thankful, to you.

Before answering your questions, essentially you need a person that is a professional in these topics, and I would refer you to “Asra kadisha” in Eretz Yisroel. The phone number is 972-3-579-4534. The Rov there speaks Hebrew, Yiddish, French, and Hungarian. This is the best option.

  1. Regarding the questions that you asked. Buying the land is a great option, if you can, because then you are the one who says what will happen with the graves.
  2. There is nothing that you have to do halachically, because it is already considered a Beis Hakvaros.
  3. You can put up a fence or wall 60 cm past the bones, however in any case you will put the wall further than that.
  4. We don’t bury non-Jews together with Jews, but in your situation, there is nothing that you can do about it, so do concern yourself with it.

Tizku L’mitzvot and H-shem should reward you for the tremendous chesed, in this world and in the next.

 

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