During the Second World War and its aftermath, the legend was spread that the Germans
turned the bodies of Holocaust victims into soap stamped with the initials RIF, falsely
interpreted as made from pure Jewish fat. In the years following liberation, RIF soap was
solemnly buried in cemeteries all over the world and came to symbolise the six million
killed in the Shoah, publicly showing the determination of Jewry to never forget the
victims. This article will examine the funerals that started in Bulgaria and then
attracted several thousand mourners in Brazil and Romania, attended by prominent public
personalities and receiving widespread media coverage at home and abroad. In 1990 Yad
Vashem laid the Jewish soap legend to rest, and today tombstones over soap graves are
falling into decay with new ones avoiding the word soap. RIF soap, however, is alive in
the virtual world of the Internet and remains fiercely disputed between believers and
Exhumations of Soviet-era victims in contemporary Russia
On 3 August 1989, a group consisting of local newspaper correspondent V. M. Kotenko, deputy chief of the Committee for
State Security (KGB) A. K. Nikiforov, searchers from an organization called Rif (Reef), the local historical museum in Voronezh,
and members of the civil organization Memorial, together with I.
A. Tekutev, one of the original witnesses, examined the forest at
Dubovka. On 6 September 1989, the first pit was discovered by
searchers from Rif.11
Clearly, the 1989 discovery of human remains in this area necessitated their disinterment
–1976), and the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco (1912–56), which led to much of the friction in the Rif.
This description of the Schengen Zone comes verbatim from an essay written by Brigadier General, Ilkka Laitinen, former Executive Director of Frontex. Frontex stands for “the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Members States of the EU,” and the abbreviation likely comes from the
front pages of international news media as the first EU country to
withdraw protection status and revoke residence permits for Syrian
nationals who had fled the decade-long war in the country. The decision
targeted people originating from the Damascus and Rif areas where,
according to Danish immigration authorities’ own, much-criticised
reports (see ECRE, 2021 ), the security
situation had improved to
Arabia’, in Metin Heper and Raphael
Israeli (eds), Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East (London: Croom Helm,
1984), p. 56.
64 Rif ’at Sayid Ahmad (ed.), Ras’il Juhayman al-’Utaybi: Qa’id al-Muqtahiminlil-Masjid
al-Haram bi-Makka (Cairo: n.p., 1988).
65 Amin Al Sa’ati, Al-Shura fi al-Mamlaka al-’Arabiya al-Sa’udiya (Cairo, 1992), pp.
66 Joseph A. Kechichian, ‘The Role of the Ulama in the Politics of an Islamic State: The
Case of Saudi Arabia’, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 18, 53–71.
67 Fouad Ibrahim, The Shi’is of