May 15, 2012
Holocaust Remains Dug Up
Bochurim Nisan Andrusier and Peretz Mochkin were left to collect bones from the mass Holocaust grave dug up by hooligans.
Written by Nisan Andrusier
After a long month of Nissan, preparing and working hard on Pesach, finally Pesach finished with Moshiach's seudah on a high note Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine.
It was time for everything to calm down and get back to normal -- to the usual schedule -- as it had been before Pesach preparations began.
However shortly after Pesach, we got a call that a group of low down hooligans had dug up the field at the "Eleventh Kilometer," where thousands of Jews, mainly Krimchaki Jews, (together with some other nationalities) had been murdered and buried in the Holocaust.
They had unearthed the bones, searching for any medals, gold, silver, anything of value, that they could steal.
We bochurim, myself and Peretz Mochkin, would have to go there to collect all the bones that had surfaced and were visible, and make a proper burial for them.
When we heard this, it was with a mixed reaction of excitement to do one of the greatest Mitzvos possible, and on the other hand with great trepidation and fear of touching and moving the bones of human bodies.
Rabbi Rothschild, a specialist connected with Zaka in Israel, who deals with situations like this, and specializes in bones, came here from B'nei Brak to make sure that everything would be done correctly, according to Jewish law. We worked together with other volunteers from different Jewish organizations.
When we picked up Rabbi Rothschild from the airport, we went straight to the Eleventh Kilometer and got to work on collecting the bones until it was dark. The next day was a Friday. We worked for four hours collecting bones and we ended up with around 10 enormous bags of them. Then we made a proper burial in front of the Jewish community of Simferopol, Crimea.
After Shabbos, on Sunday, we worked again, this time for a whole day, finishing up collecting the bones. We worked for 6 hours in the heat of the sun. During that time we were also able to stop a forest fire, because no one else called the fire station -- they just passed by or stood there watching it! We then made a second proper burial for the bones which we had collected. Our work was done for these great Jewish souls who died al kidush Hashem.
Right when we thought we were going to get back into a normal schedule, Lag B'Omer loomed on the horizon. We needed to prepare all the shows, foods, volunteers and raise the money to make sure this year's program in Simferopol, Crimea will be a huge success.
We had less than two weeks of planning, but we were able to raise the money and arrange the programs, which included four different shows geared for children and adults, as well as horseback riding, inflatable slide/moon bounce, cotton candy, face painting, snacks, and a barbecue supper, for the entire Jewish community. Everyone loved the event!
All the kids and adults alike want Lag B'Omer 5772 once again, that's how successful and great it was. Here in Simferopol we are not sure what to expect next. But all I know is, it's definitely going to be something exciting and keep all of us on our toes!