Remains of Holocaust victims to be reburied
4 November 2005, STUTTGART, GERMANY - German authorities Thursday issued an order for the re-burial of human bones found at Stuttgart Airport, after Jewish groups protested against the exhumation of the remains of apparent Holocaust victims.
4 November 2005
STUTTGART, GERMANY - German authorities Thursday issued an order for the re-burial of human bones found at Stuttgart Airport, after Jewish groups protested against the exhumation of the remains of apparent Holocaust victims.
Prosecutors, who have opened a murder inquiry, were told to dispense with DNA tests on the 34 sets of bones, which they had hoped would identify the dead and confirm the Holocaust link.
Independent evidence suggests the remains were those of Jewish slave labourers who died of starvation and typhoid while forced to work in a Gestapo camp between November 1944 and February 1945, when the site was a Luftwaffe air strip during World War II.
Jewish religious scholars said the exhumation and the tests violated the requirement to leave the dead in peace. The mass grave was accidentally discovered during airport construction work in September.
Ulrich Goll, justice minister of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the prosecutors' superior, ordered a reburial.
"At the present time, a forensic identification is not necessary," he said in Stuttgart. He ordered the remains reburied in a way that they could be examined at a later time if need be. Since the discovery, the bones have been kept at a forensic institute.
Goll explained that the DNA test was not necessary because it could not establish the cause of death and would therefore not be relevant to any possible prosecution of the killers.
A protest had come from Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger, head of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe. In a letter to authorities in Stuttgart, the London-based rabbi said it was imperative that the remains not be removed.
"One of the pillars of the Jewish faith is the inviolability of the final resting place," Rabbi Schlesinger wrote.
Rabbis at the Brussels-based Rabbinical Centre of Europe demanded that the 60-year-old remains should be returned to the site. They said they were considering declaring a Jewish Cemetery at the site.
"According to Jewish law, the bodies are not allowed to be transferred from one place to another," said Rabbi Levi Matusof, coordinator of the Brussels group. "Since this is already a burial place, this is their everlasting resting place."
Subject: German news