Historic Jewish Cemetery in Ukrainian City of Sumy Hit by Russian Rocket Attack
A Jewish cemetery in Ukraine containing the graves of victims of antisemitic violence has been damaged by a Russian rocket attack, Ukrainian media sources reported on Sunday.
The historic Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery in the north-eastern city of Sumy was struck during sustained Russian shelling of the Shostka district. Residents were reported to have spent the night huddled in bomb shelters under the constant wail of air raid sirens.
The Hlukhiv cemetery contains the graves of Jews murdered during the pogroms of 1918-21, during the civil war that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The cemetery also contains the graves of two Jewish sages, Menachem Nohim David Geselyov and Israel Dov Ber Nohimov Shumyatsky, both of which survived the shelling intact.
Photos published on Facebook by Oleksandr Tkachenko, Ukraine’s Minister of Culture, showed several smashed and burned tombstones lying amid a shroud of heavy smoke.
The images were accompanied by a furious post from Tkachenko denouncing the Russian attack.
“This is further direct proof that there is nothing sacred in Russia at all, and that they are no different from the Nazis who exterminated the Jews 80 years ago,” Tkachenko wrote. He noted as well that “Jews buried in the Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv are victims of the 1918 pogrom, a special symbol for the entire Jewish people.” More than 100,000 Jews are estimated to have perished during the pogroms that followed the civil war, with a further 600,000 forced to flee from their homes.
Tkachenko added that the survival of the graves of the two sages was “proof that all the higher powers are still on our side.” He said that it was “really a miracle after such a strike. Locals are still sitting in bomb shelters because the sirens remain active.”
The minister called on the international community to “respond immediately to such crimes.”
Recalling that the anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany falls on Monday, May 9, Tkachenko remarked: “This is how Russia marks the day under the slogan ‘Never Again.'”