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Criminal case pursued over illegal excavations at WWII-era mass grave in Crimea

June 28, 4:36 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL

The Crimean Jewish community and the authorities decided to build a concrete sarcophagus above the mass grave to prevent such incidents

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SIMFEROPOL, June 27. /TASS/. Local police in Russia’s Crimea have launched a criminal investigation into illegal excavations at a mass grave of near the city of Simferopol, where hundreds of Jews, Krymchaks and Gypsies were executed during the Nazi occupation.

"The fact of the diggings at the mass grave was documented by our officers," Crimean police spokeswoman Olga Kondrashova told TASS on Tuesday.

According to Crimea’s Jewish community leader, Anatoly Gendin, local residents alerted the community about illegal excavations at the site on June 18, 2017.

"A local woman saw strangers digging there and tipped us off immediately. When we arrived at the site, we saw dozens of holes, some of them really deep. After that, we reported it to the police," Gendin said, adding that the vandals must have been looking for gold and other valuables that the victims could have been buried with.

The chairman of the Crimean Public Chamber, Grigory Ioffe, said the Crimean Jewish community and the authorities decided to build a concrete sarcophagus above the mass grave and install video surveillance equipment in the area to prevent these types of incidents in the future.

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