Nazi camp victims laid to rest
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(photo credit: Channel 2)
Remains of 34 Jews who died at concentration camp receive Jewish burial.
Despite the pressure of German authorities, who wanted to test the skeletons of 34 recently discovered Holocaust victims, the bodies were laid to rest Thursday without any investigation. German officials had hoped to determine the identities of the victims, how they died and perhaps find those who killed them. According to German law, when Holocaust victims are discovered, the authorities have to take all necessary measures to track down the individuals involved in their deaths. Those measures include taking DNA samples and other scientific tests. But Orthodox Jews argued that the burial should take place where the skeletons were discovered, without DNA tests, so as not to violate the victims' right to rest in peace. "Because of this extraordinary legal, ethnic, and historic background, I think it is appropriate to move away from the opinion of the prosecution and take more into consideration all the relevant points of religious concern raised by Jewish organizations," said Ulrich Goll, justice minister for the province of Baden-Wurttemberg, where the skeletons were found. Should there be a case made against someone in the future, however, he said it would be possible to identify the bodies at a later time. The Conference of European Rabbis conveyed its "deep gratitude to German federal and state authorities, as well as to the United States Air Force, for their sensitivity and respect in following strict guidelines of Jewish law by according a full respectful Jewish burial to these victims of Nazi barbarism." The burial didn't take place until Thursday because of the dispute over whether to test the remains. The ceremony was attended by German officials, Baden-W rttemberg Rabbi Netanel Wurmser, Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and Ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein, as well as by representatives of the Central Consistory of Jews in Germany. The victims were given a proper Jewish burial on the grounds of the US air base at the Stuttgart-Echterdingen international airport in Filderstadt, Germany. Their skeletons were discovered in September during construction work on the airport. During World War II, the area served as the site of a concentration camp where prisoners from various European countries were held. The construction of a memorial is planned close to the gravesite.