Turning Jewish Cemeteries Into Soccer Fields

June 12, 2012

(jewishhistory.org) In Spain, the great Olympic village and stadiums in Barcelona are built over ancient Jewish cemeteries. In Eastern Europe, most Jewish cemeteries were made into soccer fields by the progressive, peace-loving, classless society of the Communists. In Vilna, the ancient Jewish cemetery was leveled for a park and soccer field. Through the intervention of Rabbi Pinchas Teitz of Elizabeth, New Jersey, the bodies of the Gaon of Vilna and other great scholars were reinterred, but since Vilna was in its totality a vast Jewish graveyard the remembrance of what Vilna was to the Jewish people was systematically eradicated by the Communists.

In Bratislava, which used to be called Pressburg, the great Rabbi Moses Sofer (the Chasam Sofer) established a renowned yeshiva, which produced scholars and Jewish communal leaders who revolutionized Jewish life in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century. Today, the Jewish cemetery in Pressburg is gone. They built a superhighway over it.
Interestingly, the legend of Rabbi Moses Sofer was so great that his grave, as well as the grave of his son and a few other graves, was not dug up and remain buried in a catacomb underneath that highway. There is a stairway that one can descend under the highway, as cars drive overhead, to see the grave of Rabbi Moses Sofer and a monument.(MORE)