'They were always very quick to help anyone in need'

They were always very q

By BENJAMIN L. HARTMAN
October 19, 2009 01:18
3 minute read.

 
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Crowds of mourners gathered at Kibbutz Givat Brenner's cemetery on Sunday to bury the Oshrenkos, the Rishon Lezion family of six who were brutally stabbed to death in what police said was the worst criminal murder in Israeli history. The victims, grandparents Edward and Ludmilla, both 56, Tatiana and Dmitri, 28 and 32, and their three-year-old daughter Revital and four-month-old son Netanel, were found by rescue services responding to a fire at the family's home on Saturday. All of their bodies showed signs of violence. After relatives viewed the coffins, volunteers from the burial society wheeled half a dozen stretchers next to six empty graves. After the deceased were lowered into the earth, the six empty stretchers were pushed to the side as mourners and volunteers shoveled dirt onto the coffins. The volunteers struggled to keep the coffins in order, at times appearing confused over which was which as they toiled to bury six people in one funeral. They called out the names of each victim as they were buried, their Hebrew names bearing the names of the loved ones next to whom they were being laid to rest. Arkadi Yasufur, a friend of the grandparents since before they immigrated to Israel, eulogized the family in Russian. Yasufur spoke of a kind and gentle family that never harmed anyone, and described the tragedy as senseless. Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver also spoke at the funeral, telling mourners she was "speechless" and "in shock" at the murder of Oshrenko family. She placed a wreath of flowers by the graves on behalf of her ministry. Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, a close friend of the Oshrenko family, also laid a wreath at the grave site, but did not give a eulogy. Meseznikov was followed by Rishon Lezion Mayor Dov Tzur and his deputy, Vadim Kirpetchov, both of whom paid their respects and laid wreaths on the ground. A white teddy bear was placed on top of the grave of little Netanel. Atop the grave of Revital, who celebrated her third birthday a day before she was murdered in her home, a mourner left a stuffed caterpillar. In front of each of the children's graves, a different woman placed a miniature garden gnome. After the funeral, scores of tearful people lingered into the night, smoking cigarettes and comforting one another. Two police vans were parked next to the entrance of the Oshrenko family's Rishon apartment earlier on Sunday, and police tape still circled the building's ground floor. There was little sign that a fire had raged in the structure two days earlier. Bracha Sadeh, who lived upstairs from the Oshrenkos on Rehov Nordau, struggled to make sense of the killings. She said the family was very quiet and always very kind to anyone. She had never heard of them being involved in any trouble and never saw any suspicious individuals near the family's home. Sadeh described the neighborhood as quiet and safe, and expressed her fear that "for all I know, there could be some sort of serial killer on the loose." Around the corner from the Oshrenko's home, the Dagan delicatessen that had been run by Ludmilla had been turned into a makeshift memorial, with dozens of candles burning on the sidewalk in front of the modest storefront, and several bouquets of flowers wedged into the store's security bars. A former customer of Ludmilla's, Nika, placed a bouquet in front of the store and choked back tears as she described the warmth and generosity of the Oshrenko family. Nika said that while she only knew Ludmilla through shopping at her store, she had treated her like family, as she did all of her customers. A few doors down, the cashier at the Reuven Minimarket, Ronen Shimonov, also spoke warmly of the Oshrenkos, describing them as "outstanding people." Shimonov, whose father has owned the kiosk for several years, said he had never heard of the family arguing or having any problems with anyone, and that they were always very quick to help anyone in need. Outside the kiosk, a visibly-shaken man named Alex said he was close to the Oshrenko family, and that their death "was a loss for the entire community." "The entire community is in mourning," he said.

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