THE PLOT SICKENS: These side-by-side plots in a Brooklyn cemetery were supposed to be the final resting places for Wolf and Klara Tranis, but somehow Klara's spot next to her now-dead husband was given to another woman
Her grave was robbed.
A Brooklyn family was devastated to find their long-dead father lying next to a stranger at Washington Cemetery -- in the same plot their mother purchased years ago for her future resting place.
Klara Tranis, 84, spent $3,200 on side-by-side plots in Section 5 of the city's largest Jewish cemetery in Midwood back in 1987, when her beloved husband of 42 years, Wolf Tranis, died at 59.
The couple had two daughters, and came to America in 1978 where Wolf, a businessman, and Klara, a housewife, settled in Midwood.
The family visited Wolf's grave regularly and as space at the cemetery dwindled, Klara's plot looked like a tiny island of open grass in a sea of headstones.
Until last year, when a relative visited the grave and made a disturbing discovery, said daughter Ludmila Kushnir.
"She said, 'I think your father's got a girlfriend,' " Kushnir recalled.
Confused, Kushnir and her sister rushed to the cemetery to find a woman named Nina Kholodenko buried in the plot meant for their mom.
"You're looking at it and you think, 'It can't be happening. It's like a dream world,' " a tearful Kushnir said.
The cemetery denied responsibility for the grave error, claiming the plots are managed by various Jewish burial societies. Immigrants formed the societies decades ago, buying up plots and administering them for members.
Thousands of the societies have since become defunct, leaving the groups and the grave sites in their control vulnerable to corruption, including double-selling of plots.
"The black market in these graves is tremendous," a government source told The Post. "It never stops."
Kushnir hasn't the heart to tell her elderly, ill mom that her future grave is occupied.
"I don't know what I'm going to do," she said.
The family asked the cemetery to exhume Kholodenko, a 63-year-old Sheepshead Bay breast-cancer victim, and return the plot. Instead, said family lawyer Eric Rothstein, the cemetery offered only to dig up Wolf and move him.
"No one wants to stand up and take responsibility for the error," he said. "Apparently, anybody can pull up with a hearse any time of day to bury someone and they're not going to check."
Kushnir and her family last week sued the cemetery, as well as the funeral home, I.J. Morris, of Brooklyn, and the society that originally sold the plots.
The cemetery manager declined to comment on the suit.
Kholodenko's husband, Mark, said his daughter paid Nevsky Yablokoff Funeral Home on Coney Island Avenue "very big money" to bury Nina.
Another relative of Kholodenko claimed they bought the space from a woman who had originally bought it for herself and that the funeral home found no record of another owner.
A predecessor to Nevsky Yablokoff was cited by the state several years ago when a funeral director was accused of improperly selling burial-society graves at Washington Cemetery.
Houston-based Service Corporation International, which owns I.J. Morris and Nevsky Yablokoff, declined comment.