8/19/2005 5:01:00 PM

Minsk Holocaust Memorial Desecrated

To: National Desk

Contact: Mark Levin, 202-898-2500, Lesley Weiss, 202-898-2500, both of the NCSJ

WASHINGTON, August 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- NCSJ: Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia today condemned the desecration of the Holocaust memorial in Minsk, Belarus and called on the Belarusian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The memorial "Yama" or "The Pit", erected in 1946 in memory of the more than 800,000 Jewish victims of the Nazis during World War II, was covered with the burnt fragments of wreaths and human waste.

Leonid Levin, President of the Association of Belarus Jewish Organizations and Communities, said, "We consider this act of vandalism a manifestation of rampant anti-Semitism, and an instigation of inter-ethnic hatred. We have sent a request to the General Prosecutor of Belarus to take appropriate measures to prevent the growth of anti-Semitism, and to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice."

"This is not the first time this memorial has been vandalized," NCSJ noted. It is yet another example of the unchecked anti-Semitism that is being ignored in Belarus."

NCSJ is in ongoing contact with the Jewish leadership in Belarus about this issue and other issues of concern to the Jewish community.