A major – and unexpected – row has broken out in the Belarus city of Brest after hundreds of skeletons were discovered in foundations being laid for a luxury housing development.
Now the bones of 1,214 people – thought to be the remains of Jews slaughtered by the Nazis after Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 – are to be reburied in a cemetery in the north of the city on 21 May.
Belarus was part of the Soviet nation when the Nazis.invaded, but, unlike other Soviet satellites, did not collaborate with Hitler.
The row has broken out because local authorities have been asked to put the housing development on hold – and challenged as to why it was approved in the first place. The World Jewish Congress described the project as “an affront to the memories of the Jewish residents of the city who were shot and murdered in cold blood at that very site.”
City mayor Alexandr Rogachuk told journalists in April Brest had been built over the unmarked graves of countless unknown war victims.