Belz Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Ukraine
Region
Lviv
District
Sokal
Settlement
Belz
Site address
Belz Jewish Cemetery
GPS coordinates
50.38310,23.99170
Perimeter length
530 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
Type of the fence
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery. The cemetery is severely overgrown. It requires clearing. The fence is in excellent condition.
Number of existing gravestones
300
Date of oldest tombstone
1853 (oldest found by ESJF expedition)
Date of newest tombstone
1934 (latest found by ESJF expedition)
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
There is an ohel outside of the cemetery fence. There are tziyunim of Rabbi Shalom (died in 1855), his son Rabbi Eliezer (died in 1882), Rabbanit Malka (died in 1853) and one more tziyun without a name.
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. First, it appears on Austrian maps of the 1880s, but the oldest preserved gravestone relates to the mid-19th century. The Jews were present in Belz from the beginning of the 15th century. In 1616, Jews owned 29 houses. During the Khmelnytskyi uprising of 1648-49, the Jewish community suffered hunger and plague. More than 200 Jews died. Famous Hasidic dynasties resided there from the early 19th century. In 1843, a tzadik Sholom Rokeach (1783–1855) built the Great Synagogue of Belz. In 1859, the Jewish population numbered 1,783 (51% of the total population) and continued to grow till 1910, when it reached its peak of 3,625 (60.2% of the total population). During the WWI, many Jews fled the town. The Jewish community suffered pogroms during the Polish-Soviet War. By 1921, the Jewish population declined to 2,104 (50.7% of the total population). The Joint Distribution Committee supported the Jewish community after WWI. In the interwar period, a Beit-Midrash operated. The Zionist organizations such as Noar Ahva (1926), Gordonia (1928), Ha-Noar ha-Zioni (1930) were active. In October 1939, when the Red Army troops left Belz, almost all the local Jews fled. On June 2, 1942, about 1,000 Jews were deported to the Sobibor death camp. Later that year, around 500 Jews suffered the same fate. After 1945, 220 Jews returned to Belz.