Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Developers destroy Sholom Aleichem house in Kiev

February 2, 2009

KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) -- One of Sholom Aleichem's homes in Kiev was demolished
on the eve of the anniversary of his birth.

A building in Kiev where the famed Yiddish writer, born Solomon Rabinovich
on Feb. 18, 1859, lived in 1905 was destroyed over the weekend by the
private company KievZhytloInvestManagement, despite instructions by city
authorities to the company to suspend the demolition in order to clarify the

The site is being prepared for a new hotel for the Euro-2012 soccer
tournament, according to reports.

"This is a disgraceful act to destroy that building," said Ilya Levitas, a
president of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, who addressed a petition to the
deputy prime minister of Ukraine and Kiev authorities on Jan. 21, requesting
that the city order a stop or suspension of the demolition.
"Activities of KievZhytloInvestManagement Company, that is an owner of the
building, shocked the public this past weekend," Irina Zalyuzhenkova, an
inspector for the Association for the Protection of Monuments of History and
Culture, told JTA. "In spite of city authority instructions and a visit to
the site, the company destroyed the building. They could find no other site.

"Now we can see that money is more important than the memory of a famous
Yiddish writer," added Zalyuzhenkova, a native Ukrainian who earlier had
sent a petition to city authorities.

Mikhail Kalnitzky, a historian of Kiev, said Sholom Aleichem lived at 35
Bolshaya Vasylkivska St., apartment 1 in Kiev.

"The local authorities' fault is that they didn't put the building on the
register list of state or municipal monuments of architecture," he said.
"That is why the private company is destroying the building."

Evgeny Chervonenko, a first deputy of the Kiev mayor and a prominent Jewish
leader, told JTA that the Kiev authority will establish a committee to
clarify the case properly.

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