Belz Jewish Cemetery
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.