LONDON >> The remains of six unidentified Holocaust victims were buried in a solemn ceremony at a Jewish cemetery near London today after spending years in storage at a British museum.
The Imperial War Museum found the ashes and bone fragments during a stock-taking last year. They had been given to the museum, along with other items from the Auschwitz concentration camp, by an anonymous donor in 1997.
Tests determined the remains belonged to five adults and a child, though their identities couldn’t be established.
More than 1,000 mourners watched as they were buried in a single coffin in earth brought from Israel at a cemetery in Bushey, just north of London.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who delivered a eulogy, said some of those in attendance would be wondering, “‘These six unidentified people – is one of them my father? Perhaps my mother? Grandfather? Grandmother? Sister? Brother?’”
Mirvis said those murdered in the Holocaust “were stripped of their dignity, both in life and in death. And we will now have an opportunity to accord them appropriate dignity with a funeral.”
The chief rabbi said the funeral was a reminder “to confront all forms of racism and discrimination.”
“The message that you convey through the presence of your remains before us today is that if anti-Semitism exists, and it goes by unchecked, then hate speech can easily be translated into hate crime,” he said.