RESTORATION OF THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN NIŠ
The president of the Executive Board of Niš City Assembly, Toplica Đorđević, with his associates and representatives of the Alliance of Jewish Municipalities in Serbia and Montenegro, visited the Jewish cemetery in Niš this morning.
"We are shocked and distressed by the conditions of the centuries old Jewish cemetery in Niš. Incomprehensible neglect and uncivilized attitude towards the ashes of long gone citizens deeply disturbed and upset us. We are ashamed and ask all member of the Jewish Allience of SCG and the world to accept our apologies", said president Đorđević at the beginning of the meeting with representatives of the Allience, Mr. Davor Salom, secretary of the Allience, architect Aleksandar Nećak and Ms. Jasmina Ćirić, president of the Jewish community in Niš.
The intention of the City is to solve this problem once and for all. At the short but productive meeting, possible directions of activities were defined, to be undertaken immediately. The representatives of JASCG stated their view of the problem, proposed several constructive solutions and offered their support. We are very grateful for that.
Mr. Đorđević informed the guests about measures which the City of Niš is implementing at present and which are part of the City Development Program for 2004. As soon as possible, the City Executive Board will form an expert work group which will make the plan for the restoration of the Jewish Cemetery, in close cooperation with experts from JASCG. The public will be informed in detail and timely about finally defined direction and dinamics of the activities planned to solve this problem.
In Niš, December 18th, 2003.
New York Forward wrote: http://www.forward.com/issues/2004/04.01.02/news10.html
ARE NOW LOOKING FOR THE SOLUTION TO THE
authorities of Nish had assured Mr. Cseresznyes that a solution to the Jewish
Cemetery would be found perhaps in keeping with the ideas of the Jewish
Community, itself, that suggested moving the remaining graves and monuments to a
more adequate site and burying human remains into a mausoleum.
as also the Glas of December 2 informed in their report titled ''Tons
of Debris on Gravesites'',
since then the Jewish Cemetery has been additionally covered with garbage and
industrial waste from the adjacent firms. At the same time a letter by Mr.
Cseresznyes addressed to the highest authorities of
have visited more than 400 Jewish cemeteries in the world, but none is equal to
the catastrophic condition of the cemetery in Nish. This is not unknown to the
Jewish scientific circles. When I visited it lst time in April, I almost got
sick from what I saw. I cannot put the exclusive blame upon the gypsies, because
the blame and the shame goes also to the town of Nish, where Jews have lived
more than 300 years and in which considerable Jewish property was confiscated
letter stirred to awareness both the town-fathers and the urban planners, who
have announced to Ms. Jasmina Ciric, president of the Jewish Community in Nish,
that they would invite her in a couple of days to jointly visit the remaining
gravesites and then consider what must be done. The Glas representative
expressed her regret that it took such a harshly toned letter to compel
authorities to take some steps.
OTHERS’ WE DESTROY OURS WE KEEP
closing his letter, Cseresznyes muses, ''Should
all of us Jews of
December 17, 2003
Cseresznyes from the
– Danas has learned that Ivan
Cseresznyes, who is involved in exploratory work related to Jewish heritage and
its documentation in countries that constituted Yugoslavia, addressed a
stringent demarche from the
one cemetery and I reiterate not a single one in any of the regions I have
visited, and I visited some 400 Jewish cemeteries, is in such a catastrophic
state as the Jewish cemetery in
I found most shattering of all when in May this year I found newly dug up graves
and witnessed that the bones of the Jewish martyrs were scattered in mud and
human waste. Also before this, the graves were disinterred, broken and
vandalized. Many of them were built into the gypsy homes and cesspools. I also
suppose that remains of the monuments are buried under layers of debris next to
the private enterprises. I, then, thought to myself, what kind of people must be
AND MOUNDS OF DEBRIS AND HUMAN WASTE
makes it clear that he does not blame gypsies as the only culprits. One third of
the Jewish Cemetery was whelmed by the gypsy settlement, another third was
without scruples annihilated by the nearby private enterprises, while the last
third was destroyed by the invading jungle and mounds of rubbish and waste. He
says that he came across tethered horses and animal corpses at the cemetery and
that in one part the monuments were used to build a pigsty. He further warns
that a couple of weeks ago the Jewish cemetery was fenced in by a three-meter
high wall, while its part that still resembled a cemetery was then covered with
garbage and waste up to two meter high. Through the oldest and most significant
part of the cemetery a sewage system was built.
THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN
marker tablets built into the foundations of gypsy homes
chapel at the Jewish Cemetery in
inhabitants of the Gypsy settlement at the
members of the Jewish Community of Nish, on the other hand, think that their
cemetery that dates back to 17th century has become the eyesore of
Nish and have recently requested the Republic’s Secretariat for Religions to
intervene in the matter.
to the information supplied by the Jewish Communities of
this city 1100 Jews lived before the war. Just one survived it and returned
after the war. At this time, forty Jews, members of the Jewish Community, live
in Nish and practically have not got their cemetery,''
says Davor Salom, the secretary of the Jewish Communities of Serbia and
somebody dies, he or she must be buried at the Serbian cemetery. The Jewish is
closed because Gypsies built their settlement in it. By its title deed the
entire acreage of the cemetery belongs to the Jewish Community of
Jewish Community requires from the Town Management of Nish to solve the problem
of the Jewish Cemetery of Nish, the options being either to move the gypsy
settlement from the cemetery or to move the cemetery to an adequate other
legalize a settlement at the cemetery is out of question. Moving the cemetery is
strictly against the religious laws. Should it take place in spite of it, it
would be a painful occurrence,''
said the Secretary of Jewish Communities of
hoped that we would be able to restore the cemetery to its previous state.
However, it is not feasible because of the buildings that were built there
leaving the cemetery inaccessible,''
says Mirjana Pesic, the manager of the Planning and Programs Department of the
Building Management in
Jewish Cemetery was neglected after the Second World War. Since Jews were almost
completely exterminated from
the original document
have usurped a part of the Jewish Cemetery on its northwest side before and ''Technomarket''
does it today. On the eastern side the commercial enterprise ''Otpad''
from Zrenjanin wedged itself in. These enterprises also covered the cemetery
with tons of their waste materials. The gypsy settlement is also on the eastern
explains Jasna Ciric, president of the Jewish Community of
tablets of the grave markers are engraved with long Hebrew texts. A smaller
number has texts in plastic lettering. A small number of tablets has also the
Serbian translation of the Hebrew text, mainly those dating back to 20th
century, while others from 19th century neither bear the year nor the
Serbian translation. The ornamentation is scarce on the tablet markers.
is impossible to see, examine or photograph the Jewish Cemetery today, because
it is completely neglected and overgrown by grass and reeds, covered by tons of
debris, human waste and industrial waste. Weeds and grass cover the tomb markers
and the brush grows two meters high. Many gypsy homes were built with grave
tablets from this cemetery in their foundation. Others have them as interior
inventory. These tablets pave the alley passages between homes, while others
have found use in the stables of the gypsy settlement. Some of the tablets panel
the walls of underground sewers. And I stress once more that tons of debris
cover all, so that the Jewish Cemetery became today a garbage disposal and dump,''
says the representative of the Jewish Community of