open grave (illustration)
open grave (illustration)iStock

A court forbade a family, which suspects that its baby son was hidden and kidnapped from the hospital where he was hospitalized in 1950, to open the burial plot where it was claimed that his bones had been buried.

The suit was filed by a resident of the south, the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland who immigrated to Israel immediately after the establishment of the state.

The family asked to conduct a genetic examination of the remains of the bones in the grave in order to examine whether the person buried there is indeed a member of the family. However, the court ruled, with the consent of experts who testified in the case, that the chances of the success of an examination are too small, rendering the damage caused to the honor of the dead unjustifiable.

In 1950, the woman’s infant brother, then a year-and-a-half old, fell ill and was hospitalized. A few days later, their parents were told that he had died, but they were not allowed to see his body, to attend the funeral, or to know where he had been buried.

A few years ago, the sister sought to have a headstone placed over her brother’s grave and began to search for his burial place. When she turned to the Interior Ministry and the Jewish burial society, she found contradictions between several official documents about him.

Judge Esther Zitnitzky Rakover wrote in the judgment: "In this case, it is not being requested to delay the burial of the deceased in order to try and identify him, but to remove a body from its grave after 67 years and carry out an invasive and injurious procedure whose chances of providing answers to doubts stirring in the heart of the petitioner are very low.”

“The petitioner applied for a DNA test for the first time 65 years after her brother's death, and with the great passage of time, according to court experts, the chances of a successful verification are very low.”

“There is also a very reasonable possibility that a body will not be found, either because of the disintegration of the body over the years or because of the erosion and the movement of the body. In a situation in which no body can be found, the petitioner will remain with her doubts about the fate of her brother, and the opening of the grave, that involves performing an intrusive and harmful act, will not advance her in any way.

“The petitioner also claimed that she was not sure that her brother was buried in the place in question, and therefore a situation exists in which there may be another body there for which the consent of the family of the deceased must be obtained. The petitioner did not give any explanation for the delay of 67 years, nor did she prove that she tried to find out what had happened to her brother in a way other than through DNA testing. We are dealing with an application for relief that the court has no power to grant under the Genetic Information Law. "