ODESSA, Ukraine – Odessa recently hosted several Rabbinical experts on Jewish law and burials, whose visit concerned a mass grave of Jews murdered during World War Two, recently discovered near the village of Gvozdavka. It is estimated that about 5,000 Jews are buried on the site of a Nazi concentration camp, where the foundation for a gas pipeline has just been laid. The bones discovered here were stored in a cardboard box and acquired by the Prosecutor's office.
The Jewish community of Odessa and Rabbi Avraham Wolf, the Chief Rabbi of Odessa and Southern Ukraine, requested of the Regional Administration to transfer the remaining burial site to the Jewish community, to establish a Jewish cemetery and provide a decent burial for the deceased, and erect a monument to these Holocaust victims. Meanwhile, experts were invited to research the site and provide recommendations on what is required by Jewish law.
Chief Rabbi Wolf and the three visiting Rabbis joined local Jewish leaders, the Head of the 'Chevra Kadisha' , and members of the Odessa Jewish community in visiting Gvozdavka. Upon viewing the burial site and interviewing witnesses to this tragedy, the experts offered comments and recommendations. The importance of swift action is underlined by existing plans to use the remaining territory to establish a mobile phone antenna.
The Jewish community of Odessa is a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.