Kopayhorod Old Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. It cannot be found marked on old maps of the region. However, given the oldest preserved tombstone is dated 1798, it can be inferred it already existed in the late 18th century.
The town of Kopaihorod was founded in 1624, and Jews are believed to have lived there from the very beginning. At that time the region belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1793, after the Second partition of Poland, it came under the control of the Russian Empire, and became a part of the Podolia Governorate (Podolskaya Gubernia). In 1847, the Jewish community of Kopaihorod numbered 617 members, including the residents of neighboring villages, and by 1886 Kopaihorod had 3 synagogues. In 1897, Jews comprised more than half of the population, 1720 of 2950. In 1912, Jews founded a mutual aid fund and by 1913 almost all small businesses in Kopaihorod belonged to Jews. These included: both pharmaceutical warehouses, all 7 grocers, all 4 haberdasheries, all 3 hardware stores, all 3 tanneries, all 16 manufacturing shops, the only clothing store, the only gas store and both wood stores.
After 1922, Kopaihorod became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. The Jewish council and a Jewish school were founded here. In 1926, 8 Jewish families moved to Kalindorf (Kherson region) and founded a Jewish kolkhoz. In 1939, the Jewish population of Kopaihorod was 1075 people, which was 36% of the total population.
In 1941, some Jews fled to the East but some remained behind. Kopaihorod was occupied by the Germans and Romanians in July 1941, and in September included in the Transnistria Governorate. The ghetto was established in Kopaihorod for the local Jews and deportees from Bessarabia and Bukovina. Many Jews were murdered or died of disease, starvation and forced labor before Kopaihorod was liberated in March 1944, with only some 2000 surviving.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kopaihorod became a part of the independent Ukraine.
In the old cemetery of Kopaihorod, there are only a few dozen remaining matzevot they date from between the late 18th until the turn of the 20th century.