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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish cemetery’

A Former Italian Model’s Mission at the Mount of Olives

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Vandalism and garbage throwing is not a new phenomenon at the most ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Amid the thousands of tombstones, some of which have been defaced or smashed into pieces, there are areas full of trash and litter left by local Palestinian youth from neighborhoods nearby.

One woman in particular is extremely agitated by the current situation.

Mirella Petteni Haggiag, a former Italian model from Rome, makes her way through the tombstones with a garbage bag in her hand several times of year when she visits Israel. She comes ready to clean around the tombstone of her late husband, Robert Haggiag, the legendary Italian-American film producer.

“This is a holy place. It’s shocking to see what happens here” Mirella Haggiag told Tazpit News Agency in an exclusive interview recently. “The Arabs hold parties and leave behind a mess. For the past five years, I come here and clean up.” “I want this place to be perfect for my husband, may he rest in peace. But look at all this,” says Mirella Haggiag, picking up the garbage and red coke cans strewn around. “These must be the result of parties. It’s not nice.”

Because Mirella lives in Rome, she also sends someone to clean Robert Haggiag’s gravestone or one of their children when she cannot be in Jerusalem. “This isn’t actually as bad as other parts of the cemetery,” she comments. “Over there, you can see the graves have been burnt and some completely smashed up,” she says, pointing to the section where the Afghanistan Jewish community is located. “They haven’t been able to destroy my husband’s tomb,” she told Tazpit.

“My husband would have been 102 years old today. I can’t imagine what he would say about this. People need to know what is happening to this cemetery,” she says.

Her husband’s life is a one fascinating story among the many notable personalities and famous figures in Jewish history buried on the Mount of Olives.

A famous film producer, Robert Haggiag co-produced and distributed more than 50 films, achieving international success with such films as Moulin Rouge, the Barefoot Contessa (1954) starring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner, and Anthony Mann’s El Cid (1961), with Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston, among many others. He earned the Italy’s prestigious David di Donatello award and the Palme d’Or at France’s Cannes Film Festival in 1965.

Robert was born Nessim Haggiag in 1913 in Tripoli, Libya and came from a Sephardic Jewish family of nine children. He studied at the University of Turin and eventually came to own many properties and movie theaters in Tripoli. However, during WWII, he was forced to abandon everything, and escaped as a war refugee to America with nothing. According to his obituary in the Telegraph, all that Haggiag owned was confiscated by the new Islamic social state.

In the late 1960’s, Robert Haggiag co-founded the largest film distributor company in Italy, with exclusive rights granted to Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century-Fox and other American studios. Later in life, he helped co-produce with his son the Lady Chatterley TV series for the BBC.

Haggiag passed away in 2009 at the age of 95 and is survived by Mirella, their two sons and a stepson.

To this day, the Haggiag family continues to maintain a strong connection with Jerusalem. This year, as in the past, the Haggiag Family Award for Israeli Cinema in memory of Robert Nessim Haggiag will be given during the upcoming Jerusalem Film Festival in July.

“My husband always wanted to be buried here in the Mount of Olives,” Mirella Haggiag told Tazpit. “And there is a family plot for myself and our children. But it’s quite depressing – I want to look for another burial place for myself. Who will clean up after I’m gone?” she asks.

Jewish Cemetery Desecrated in France

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Hundred of Jewish tombstones have been desecrated in a cemetery in Brumath, near Strasbourg, according to French government officials.

Swastikas and antisemitic slogans were painted on the headstones.

Jewish Cemetery in Argentina Vandalized

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

At least a dozen headstones were desecrated and upended at a Jewish cemetery in Santiago del Estero, an Argentine city of nearly 250,000 and located about 620 miles northeast of Buenos Aires.

The attack, which is believed to have occurred over the weekend, was discovered on Monday by a cemetery worker.

“Photos were scattered and monuments were damaged in an unprecedented level of violence in our Jewish cemetery,” Hernan Kriscautzky, the Santiago del Estero representative to the Argentine Jewish political umbrella DAIA, told JTA.

Photos of the dead are placed on tombs to help visitors identify the gravesites.

There was no anti-Semitic graffiti or other messages found at the cemetery, which is still active.

Police are investigating the incident.

The neighborhood cemetery next to the Jewish cemetery was not vandalized, though it has been robbed of metals previously, the local newspaper El Liberal reported.

LA Jewish Cemetery Settles Class-Action Suit for $80.5 Million

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A Los Angeles Jewish cemetery accused of dumping remains to make room for new interments has settled a 25,000-person class action lawsuit.

Eden Memorial Park in Missions Hills, Calif., agreed to a settlement worth about $80.5 million, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported, citing documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 27.

The lawsuit was filed in 2009. It claimed that Eden Memorial Park, one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in the United States, instructed groundskeepers to “secretly break concrete vaults with a backhoe and remove, dump and/or discard the human remains, including human skulls, to make room for new interments.” The alleged incidents began as early as 1985.

About 40,000 people are buried in the 72-acre cemetery.

The settlement will be finalized in mid-May. The case went to trial last month in the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.

Eden Memorial Park is owned and operated by SCI California, a subsidiary of Texas-based Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest operator of cemeteries and funeral services in the United States.

Polish Photographer Uses Jewish Cemetery for Naked Photo Shoot

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Polish photographer Lukasz Szczygielski has apologized for conducting a photo shoot with a half-naked model at the Jewish cemetery in the southern Polish town of Checiny.

Szczygielski explained that he actually wanted to draw attention to what he said was a “neglected” and forgotten cemetery. The Jewish cemetery in Checiny was opened in the 17th century. There are approximately 150 tombstones in the cemetery.

The model posed against the headstones naked from the waist up, with a necklace bearing a large cross hanging between her breasts.

“This is not the appropriate form of drawing attention to Jewish cemeteries. I would prefer that this man rather clean up the cemetery rather than doing naked session there,” Krzysztof Bielawski of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews told local television station TVP Kielce.

“If it offended anyone I deeply apologize. This was not the intention of the session,” Szczygielski told the TV station.

Turkey Discovers Old Jewish Cemetery during Construction

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Gravestones and bones from an 18th century Turkish Jewish cemetery 20 feet underground were unearthed during construction on an underground tunnel in the city of Izmi, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Wednesday.

The gravestones were left in the ground and the bones were delivered to representatives of Izmir’s Jewish community, who will rebury them in the Altındağ Jewish Cemetery, which remains open to Jewish burials, Izmir Jewish community chairman Jak Kaya told the newspaper.

The cemetery disturbed by the construction work served the Jewish community during the 19th century.

Izmir was home to about 40,000 Jews in 1868, making it the third largest Jewish community in the Ottoman Empire, after Salonika and Istanbul. but there are now only about 2,400 Jews in Izmir, according to the DiasporaMuseum in Tel Aviv, now known as Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People.

Warsaw to Transfer Ancient Jewish Cemetery to Jewish Community

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

The city of Warsaw agreed to hand over ownership of an ancient cemetery to Poland’s Jewish community.

The Brodno Cemetery, on the eastern banks of the Vistula River, will be handed over to the Jewish community in the coming weeks and undergo a major restoration operation this year, according to a report last week on the Gazeta website.

The 13-acre cemetery, which was established in 1780, came into the possession of the Polish state after its partial destruction by the Nazi occupying forces in the 1940s. It was designated to become a park, but  a part was preserved and restored by the Nissenbaum Family Foundation.

The cemetery saw its last burial in the 1940s, according to the Gazeta report.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/warsaw-to-transfer-ancient-jewish-cemetery-to-jewish-community/2013/03/03/

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