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Jacques Gerstenkorn

This article describes the powerplay around the recent discovery (summer 2015) of eighteenth-century Jewish graves in the French city of Lyon. Prior to the French Revolution, Jews had no right to have their own cemeteries, and the corpses of the deceased were buried in the basement of the local catholic hospital, the Hôtel- Dieu. In recent years this centrally located building was completely renovated and converted into a retail complex selling luxury brands. The discovery and subsequent identification of the graves – and of some human remains – led to a complex confrontation between various actors: archaeologists, employed either by the municipality or by the state; religious authorities (mostly Lyons chief rabbi); the municipality itself; the private construction companies involved; direct descendants of some of the Jews buried in the hospital‘s basement; as well as the local media. The question of what to do with the graves took centre stage, and while exhumations were favoured by both archaeologists and the representatives of the families, the chief rabbi – supported by the construction companies – proved reluctant to exhume, for religious reasons. In the first part of his article the author details the origins of this Jewish funerary place and current knowledge about it. He then goes on to analyse what was at stake in the long negotiations, arguing that the memory of the Holocaust played a role in the attitude of many of the parties involved. By way of conclusion he considers the decision not to exhume the graves and elaborates on the reasons why this led to some dissatisfaction.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Abstract only

Cemeteries and Mass Graves in Europe (Antwerp: European Agudas Yisroel, 2008), p. 5; E. Schlesinger, ‘Halachic Ruling Relative to the Treatment of Discovered Jewish Graves and Discovered Bones of Jewish Victims (Shoah victims, mass graves …)’, in European Agudas Yisroel, Jewish Cemeteries and Mass Graves in Europe (Antwerp: European Agudas Yisroel, 2008), p. 9. 91 Early findings relating to Longy Common cemetery were presented by the authors in Sturdy Colls

in 'Adolf Island'
Caroline Sturdy Colls
Kevin Simon Colls

. Figure 8.8 One of eight Jewish graves located on the south side of Longy Common cemetery. This photograph was taken in 1952 – the kerb and marker shown here were erected after the end of the occupation. Archival sources shed light on the potential reasons for this seemingly chaotic burial system. First, in 1942, it appears the burials in the cemetery were not marked. Soviet investigators who came to the island in 1945 collected evidence from former OT

in 'Adolf Island'