The city of Poltava in Eastern Ukraine has decided to sell the site of the massacre of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust to property developers to build homes, prompting an outcry from Ukraine's Jewish community as well as government officials.
The decision caused outcry from the Ukrainian Jewish community and was addressed by the Ministry of Culture in Kiev, but so far to no avail.
Israeli Ambassador to the Ukraine Joel Leon sent a passionate plea to the mayor of Poltava and his city council. He said that as a representative of the State of Israel and a Holocaust survivor himself, he was making an appeal in the name of those no longer able to do so to stop this injustice from taking place.
"Our brother's blood cries out to me from the soil," Leon said, quoting the plea of the slain from Book of Genesis.
Poltava, which today has a population of 300,000, was occupied by the Nazis in 1941. Though much of the city's Jewish population was said to have fled before the arrival of the German troops, thousands were murdered in mass killings and buried in mass graves in the area.
This is not the first time the city has evoked strong emotions related to its recent Jewish history.
Last year, the "Grieving Mother" monument, a memorial in Poltava to 8,000 of the city's Jews murdered by the Nazis, was desecrated on HIlter's birthday with the slogan "Heil Hitler" and a swastika.
Before the war, Jews made up almost 10% of the population of Poltava, and it was considered an important center of Jewish life.
According to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Nazis imprisoned the Jewish community in a ghetto before they were murdered in mass executions.