Human remains were dug up Tuesday during construction work near a Jewish cemetery in eastern Poland and dumped unceremoniously in an empty lot to make way for a supermarket, parking lot and an electrical transformer station.
The remains were unearthed during work to modernize the power grid for the city of Siemiatycze. The ground where the remains were uncovered is adjacent to the fence of the Jewish cemetery.
The case is being investigated by the District Prosecutor’s Office in Siemiatycze.
The chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, said he believes the incident is “the worst desacralization of the Jewish cemetery” that he has seen since assuming his post 17 years ago.
“There are no words to describe how this is possible today in a free, democratic Poland,” Schudrich said.
The mayor of Siemiatycze, Piotr Siniakowicz, told the Polish Press Agency that the bones should be respected, but that the rabbi had made too strong of an accusation, since the town does take care of the Jewish cemetery.
The ground on which the bones were found is not owned by the city.
Siemiatycze, a town in eastern Poland of some 15,000 people, was about 60 percent Jewish until the Holocaust. Today no Jews live there.
Both representatives of the Jewish community and the local government expressed their desire to cooperate in order to resolve the situation.
The bones were handed over to the rabbinical commission for Jewish cemeteries.
Under Jewish law, human remains should not be disturbed.
Construction has been halted as prosecutors investigate the case.