Mena Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the dates on the preserved tombstones, it can be inferred the cemetery already existed in the early 20th century. It cannot be found marked on old maps of the region.
In the early 19th century, the population of Mena nnumbered around 6,000 people. The Jewish population at this time is not mentioned but reference is made to the existence of a synagogue and another Jewish house of worship. According to the census of 1897, the town was home to 6,277 people, more than a quarter of whom were Jews. The main activities of the Jewish population in the 19th and early 20th centuries were trade and crafts. In 1902, the rabbi of Mena was Itshok- Isaac Lurvin and in 1904-06, Shneur-Zalman Ginzburg. In 1914, the Jews owned a pharmaceutical warehouse, an inn, 31 stores, including all four of the town’s grocery stores, all five of the manufacturing shops, and both tanneries. In 1925, the natives of Mena founded Jewish agricultural collectives in the Kherson region; “Put’ Ilyicha” (the Path of Lenin) with 87 colonists, and “Arbeth” with 73. In the 1920s, the rabbi was Yisroel Medvedev. In 1926 the town was home to 1,321 Jews (18.2%). According to the census of 1939, 586 Jews lived in Mena and the surrounding region. Before WWII, the gabay was Oges Yakov Aronovich, and the rabbi was Shmul (later killed by the Nazis). German forces occupied Mena on September 8th, 1941. Many Jewish families found a way to evacuate to the east of the country. On October 15th, 1941, 124 Jews were shot (according to other sources, 31 Jews) at the local Jewish cemetery. The mass killings continued throughout November and December. On November 29th, 1941 near a railway bridge on the Desna River in Makoshino, 50 local Jews were killed. On December 15th, 1941, on the territory of the monastery in the village of Dominitsy (Menskiy district), the Germans shot and killed 34 children from the local orphanage, including 5 Jewish boys and girls. The last mass shooting that occurred in Mena took place on February 2nd, 1942. After the war, the gabay was Aaron Gilyevich Lifshitz and the shochet was Mones Tzaddik Dershteyn. The Jewish Community was officially registered between 1995 and 1996. Its first chairman was Vladimir Berman. Now the Head of the Community is Ludmila Pavlovna Berman. As of 2018, the population of Mena numbered 11,670 people. Hava Vladimirovna Volovich, writer, actress, director. and Gulag survivor, was born in Mena in 1916. The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the dates on the preserved tombstones, it can be inferred the cemetery already existed in the early 20th century. It cannot be found marked on old maps of the region. 2 Holocaust mass graves are located in Mena: one on the local Jewish cemetery and the other near the road to Kokovichi.