Pidhaytsi Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Ukraine
Region
Ternopyl
District
Pidhaytsi
Settlement
Pidhaytsi
Site address
The cemetery is located along Lesi Ukrainky Street.
GPS coordinates
49.26633, 25.13249
Perimeter length
494 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery is fenced. Its roadside is surrounded by a metal fence of 1.8 metres height. Its southern and eastern sides are surrounded by a metal mesh fence.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery site is well-maintained. It is used for cattle grazing. The fence is in good condition.
Number of existing gravestones
About 1,500
Date of oldest tombstone
1630 (oldest found by ESJF expedition)
Date of newest tombstone
1952 (latest found by ESJF expedition)
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
There is an ohel of Rabbi Abraham Benyamin Sol’nyk of Pidhaytsi (died in 1620), installed by the Ohalei Tzadikim — Gader Avot union.
Drone surveys
No

Historical overview

Pidhaytsi Jewish Cemetery is one of the oldest an well-preserved Jewish cemeteries on Ukraine. The oldest tombstone on this cemetery, preserved till today, dates back to 1630 (documented by Jewish Galicia and Bukovina Project). Hovewer, Yizkor Pidhaytsi mentions some tombstones of 1420, presumably exiting on the cemetery. It is unknown, whether these matsevot of XV cent. did not survive until today or just are a local legend, retold by Yizkor book. The cemetery is shown on the cadastral map of 1846.

The first mention about the Jews of Pidhaytsi dates back to the 15th century. In 1648, the Khmelnytskyi troops massacred local Jews. In 1650, a synagogue was built. In 1676, Turkish authorities persecuted Jews there. In the 17th century, Jews were engaged in woollen cloth manufacturing and other crafts. In 1765, 1079 Jews lived there. The Sabbatianism and Frankism had followers in the town in the 18th century. By the end of the 18th century, Hasidism predominated. In 1880, the Jewish population reached 4,012 (67,5% of the total population). In 1905, Rabbi Shalom Lilienfeld (1857–1909) founded a Talmud-Torah. Itzhak-Isaac-Menahem Aichenstein (1879–1943) founded a Hasidic court in 1909. During WWI, most of the Jews left Pidhaytsi. Jews suffered a pogrom staged in 1919. In 1921, the Jewish population reduced to 2,872 (59,7% of the total population). Jewish Joint Distribution Committee supported the community in the 1920s. Under the Soviet regime, the Jewish public life was restricted. In 1939, 3,155 Jews (53% of the total population) were the inhabitants of the town.

The Wehrmacht troops entered the town on July 4, 1941. In September and October 1942, more than 2,200 Jews were deported to the Belzec death camp. In early June 1943, during the liquidation of a ghetto and labour camp, prisoners were executed at the local Jewish cemetery. Around 100 Jews escaped but were caught later. Nearly 50 Jews survived the war. In the 1990s, two synagogues of the 16th and 19th centuries were maintained.

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