A Jewish cemetery outside of Kyiv was attacked by Russian missiles, one of Ukraine’s chief rabbis said on Sunday.
Reuven Asman also said he hasn’t received donations from major Jewish organizations that claim to have supported him.
Asman visited the Berkovtsy Cemetery on Thursday, on the eve of the last day of Passover.
“I arrived at the cemetery and suddenly saw dozens of Jewish graves that were destroyed by Russian rockets that did not explode.”
Asman visited there again on Sunday and said, “We created a committee of volunteers, and I asked people to go to the cemetery to take pictures of everything that was destroyed so that there would be documentation that there are war crimes taking place here in Ukraine. I’ve seen destruction in some Jewish plots and also in non-Jewish plots. There are graves of World War II soldiers that are now destroyed. It’s crazy to see these graves with their pictures and awards from the war. The Russians want to denazify Ukraine? Now they want to denazify the dead. I just saw a dog that was shot by the Russians. I laughed that now Russia is denazifying dogs.”
Asman wrote on Facebook: “We are documenting the destruction of the Berkovtsy Cemetery by Russian missiles. In the next few days, we will start rebuilding the graves. Many people are asking about the integrity of their graves and monuments of their relatives. Unfortunately at the moment we can’t give an accurate answer about the damage, but we will do our best to restore all the ruined graves.”
A member of Asman’s community posted a video on Facebook that showed the broken tombstones.
“Here is just another barbaric act of fascist invaders,” the post said. “Look, the monuments have been destroyed. Here are the fragments that came from the tombstones. I’ll take the fragments with me in order to show the evidence of the cynicism and villainy of the Russian government.... This is scary stuff. It’s good against evil.”
Asman added comments to the post saying he hasn’t received funds or assistance from any of the large Jewish organizations, except for the Joint Distribution Committee, even though he was promised large sums from many organizations and entities.
“There are organizations in America and Israel making money off of us. Many organizations are collecting money but it isn’t clear who they’re raising the money for or if it will ever arrive in Ukraine,” he said.
“There is a big organization that raised many millions of dollars that called me and said, ‘Send us photos and a thank-you video and then we’ll send you money.’ I said, ‘Send money and then we will send pictures.’ I didn’t get a penny from all of these big Jewish organizations that have raised hundreds of millions for Ukrainian-Jewish communities. One of the foundations asked to come with a TV and PR team to one of our Jewish communities in order to show what they had [supposedly] donated.
“I have financed buses all over Ukraine and I owe a lot of people money. We received donations from private individuals. We are waiting to receive the money we have raised through [Charidy.com] half a million dollars,” Asman said. “At the beginning of the war I spent about $100,000 every day – in cash. I was here alone in Ukraine, except for the rabbi of Dnipro. All of the rabbis have left.”