Ozaryntsi Old Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the oldest preserved tombstone is dated 1878, it can be inferred it was already in use by the latter half of the 19th century. It can be found marked on a Russian map of the region from the 1900s.
The village of Ozaryntsi has been known to exist since 1431, and Jews are believed to have lived there from the 15th century. From 1569 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 society of Ozaryntsi numbered 989 people. In 1897, the Jewish population of Ozaryntsi comprised 25% of the total population (994 of 3954). In the early 19th century, a synagogue was built, by 1863, there were two synagogues and a hassidic court and by the turn of the centuries already 3 synagogues.
The Jewish population of Ozaryntsi suffered greatly during World War I and the civil war in Russia. Between 1919-1920, 6 pogroms claimed a number of victims.
After 1922, Ozaryntsi became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In 1923, 660 Jews lived in the town. In early 1920s a HeHalutz Zionist organization existed in Ozaryntsi. In 1920-30s a state Yiddish school operated there and a Jewish kolkhoz was organized. In 1931, all 3 synagogues were closed and rededicated. The Jews of Ozarintsy suffered greatly during the Great Famine (Holodomor) in Ukraine in the early 1930s.
In July 1941, Ozaryntsi was occupied by the German and Romanian troops, and included in the Transnistria Governorate. Soon the first dozen Jews were shot to death with others burned alive. A ghetto was established for the local Jews and around 2000 deportees from Bessarabia and Bukovina. The majority of the ghetto’s prisoners died of disease and starvation. By September 1, 1943, only 40 Jews from Bessarabia and 47 from Bucovina were alive in Ozaryntsi. Right before liberation, in March 1944, one more group of Jews were executed.
After liberation some Jews returned to Ozaryntsi, with a Yiddish school that operated in 1944-45, however by 1970, only 5 Jews lived in Ozaryntsi. In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ozaryntsi became a part of the independent Ukraine.
The Jewish cemetery of Ozaryntsi, established in the 18th century, today contains around 200 headstones, which date between the late 19th and the late 20th century.