Melitopil Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Ukraine
Region
Zaporizhya
District
Melitopol
Settlement
Melitopil'
Site address
The cemetery is located to the left of No.33 Chelyuskіntsіv street.
GPS coordinates
46.86133, 35.38982
Perimeter length
643 мetres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery is not fenced, in some places the remains of the Stone fence (masonry wall) are visible.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is large, there is a pre-war and post-war part. The cemetery is divided by paths where locals walk and drive. The Jewish cemetery is divided by a path from the Christian one. The territory of the site is covered with seasonal vegetation.
Number of existing gravestones
There are about 500 gravestones. Many of the stones have fallen into ruin.
Date of oldest tombstone
1892 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
Around 1963 (the latest tombstone found by ESJF).
Urgency of erecting a fence
High
Land ownership
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
No
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. It was established no later than the late 19th century, as the earliest preserved tombstone dates to 1892.

Melitopil (Ukr. Мелітополь, Rus. Мелитополь, Yid. מעליטאָפּאָל) had a Jewish population of 128 (3% of the total population) in 1838. A synagogue was in operation in 1857. In 1897, 6,563 Jews (42% of the total population) and 454 Karaites lived in Melitopil. A pogrom was staged in 1905, however the Jewish self-defence was successful in stopping the riot. By 1910 the community maintained 20 synagogues, 2 cemeteries, a Jewish hospital, 4 Jewish schools, a loan fund, and various charities. HeHalutz had a branch in 1916. In the Soviet period, Melitopil had a Jewish school and a Jewish theatre. An underground Lubavitch yeshiva operated between 1938–41. There were 6,040 Jews (8% of the total population) in Melitopil in 1939. Many of them were able to evacuate, though 1,800 remained. Most of them were murdered less than a week after the Germans arrived in October 1941. The Jewish community re-emerged after World War II. About 2,500 Jews (3% of the population population) lived in Melitopil in 1959. Jewish community life was revived in the 1990’s and, according to the 2001 census, there were 479 Jews in Melitopil.

It is not known when exactly the cemetery was founded. The earliest tombstone dates to 1892. The location of the second, older cemetery is unknown.

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