Jewish gravestones unearthed at a small cemetery in Vienna were hailed on Wednesday as historically important cultural treasures that could rival the famed Jewish cemetery in Prague.
Restoration work at the 16th century Seegasse cemetery has discovered 20 gravestones that are centuries old and were buried by Viennese Jews in 1943 to hide them from the Nazis ruling the country, the IKG Jewish community organization said.
Many Jewish cemeteries were destroyed during World War II by the Nazis who stole headstones and desecrated graves.
The IKG said these gravestones were found carefully buried in two to three layers separated by earth and could be just the first of many other “hidden jewels” to be found there.
Their location had remained unknown as many of the people who hid the gravestones did not survive the war.
See photos with an AP article in the July 10, 2013 edition of the New York Daily News.