Rockland County museum to hold burial for human remains found from Holocaust

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A museum in Rockland County has been grappling with a host of historical, legal and moral issues ever since historians there discovered human remains from the Holocaust inside its archives.

Historian Abigail Miller and curator Julie Golding first stumbled upon a plain-looking box in the archives of the Holocaust Museum and Center for Tolerance and Education in Suffern.

It was a box donated by a local survivor that had been stored in the museum's archives for years. Inside was remnants of human remains.

“This is really the first time this has happened in the United States,” says Miller.

The remains were from Chelmno, an extermination camp in Poland, where 72,000 Jews were killed during World War II. The local survivor, who donated the items, visited the location after the war.

“His whole family was murdered at Chelmno. So he returned to that site and wanted to have something of that earth to bring back,” said Miller.

The remains, once verified by cremation experts, have created more questions than answers.

“We can't say of how many victims, but we can say it was more than one person,” says Miller.

Miller and Golding discovered the remains in January.

After consulting with rabbinical leaders around the world, museum officials say the remains will be given a proper burial on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Monsey Jewish Cemetery.

All are welcome to attend, especially the 100-plus Holocaust survivors in Rockland. 


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