Murovani Kurylivtsi Jewish Cemetery
According to the Commission on the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, the cemetery was founded in the 18th century.
The town of Murovani Kurylivtsi was first mentioned in 1493. From 1569 the region belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Murovani Kurylivtsi was recognized as a town in 1775. Jews started to settle in Murovani Kurylivtsi in the second half of the 18th century.
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 Murovani Kurylivtsi numbered 155 members. In 1887 and 1897 Jews comprised a third of Murovani Kurylivtsi’s entire population. 1410 Jews lived in Murovani Kurylivtsi in 1897, when they comprised 32.5% of the total population. At the turn of the century Murovani Kurylivtsi had a Jewish state-sponsored school with Russian as the language of instruction.
Jews were mostly engaged in crafting and commerce. In 1861 Jews owned 2 water mills, 4 small shops, and rented a sugar factory. There were 60 Jewish craftsmen in Murovani Kurylivtsi including: bakers, shoemakers, tailors and hairdressers. In 1889 there were 3 synagogues. At the beginning of the 20th century a Jewish school was established. In 1912 a Jewish loan society operated and in 1913 a talmud-torah was opened. In 1914 there were 4 synagogues and Jews owned the only pharmaceutical store, 2 wood stores and 20 shops including all 8 groceries.
The Jews of Murovani Kurylivtsi suffered greatly from violence during World War I, the revolutionary years and civil war in Russia. In 1915 Jewish war refugees came to Murovani Kurylivtsi. Many local Jews were forced to leave the town in the aftermath of a 1917 pogrom but returned when the situation stabilized. In 1919 a new pogrom claimed several Jewish lives.
After 1922, Murovani Kurylivtsi became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR.
In the early 1920s a branch of the Zionist HeHalutz organization was active in Murovani Kurylivtsi, providing local Jews with agricultural training in preparation for emigration to Palestine, but soon the imposition by the Soviet authorities of a ban on all forms of private economic activity at the end of the 1920s aggravated the economic situation of many of the town’s Jews. The artisans were forced to join cooperatives, while merchants switched to other occupations. Some Jews turned to agriculture. In the late 1920s, a Jewish kolkhoz was established in Murovani Kurylivtsi; in the 1930s it merged with a Ukrainian collective farm.
During this period Murovani Kurylivtsi had a Jewish rural council that conducted its deliberations in Yiddish and promoted various Yiddish cultural activities. The Jewish council supervised the local Yiddish school that operated from the early 1920s to the late 1930s. In 1932-33 the Jews of Murovani Kurylivtsi suffered greatly during the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine.
Few Jews of Murovani Kurylivtsi succeeded in fleeing to the Soviet interior after German forces invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. German troops occupied the town on July 17th 1941. Initially troops from Germany’s ally Hungary were stationed in Murovani Kurylivtsi. These Hungarian soldiers prevented local Ukrainians from staging a pogrom against the Jews. At the same time the Jews were forced to perform forced labour. In the fall of 1941 Murovani Kurylivtsi came under German rule and the persecution of Jews increased. Not only did the Jews have to continue carrying out forced labor but they were also compelled to pay various fines and to hand over gold and other valuables in their possession. In November 1941 the Jews of Murovani Kurylivtsi were forced into a ghetto established in the most poverty-stricken area of the town. A Judenrat was appointed to supply laborers, to serve as a conduit for the fines imposed on the Jews by the occupation authorities, and to prevent the Jews from leaving the ghetto without permission. The ghetto inmates were allowed to leave the ghetto for only an hour once a week to go to the market. The Jews were also forced to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David. About 100 Jews from Romanian-occupied Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia were also incarcerated in the ghetto. In August 1942 Jews from Snitkiv and Verbovets were brought to Murovani Kurylivtsi. Most of Murovani Kurylivtsi’s Jews were murdered on August 21, 1942. Some skilled workers who were spared in this massacre were sent to the labor camp at Letychiv, while others were left in the Murovani Kurylivtsi ghetto to work for the occupying authorities. Most of these workers were murdered in September or mid-October 1942 near the village of Popova, southeast of Murovani Kurylivtsi. The last few Jews of Murovani Kurylivtsi were murdered in March 1944, a short time before the liberation of the town by the Red Army on March 24, 1944.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Murovani Kurylivtsi became a part of the independent Ukraine.
The cemetery of Murovani Kurylivtsi is believed to be founded in the 18th century. Today its remains contain about 100 headstones dated to the 20th-21th century.