Ruzhyn Jewish Сemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Ukraine
Region
Zhytomyr
District
Ruzhyn
Settlement
Ruzhyn
Site address
Opposite the district hospital on 51 Burdy Street.
GPS coordinates
49.7229724 29.2080321
Perimeter length
758 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
A 1 metre tall concrete fence runs along the northeastern side of the cemetery, while the remainder of the perimeter is unfenced.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The newer section of the cemetery is clear and well-maintained. However, the site is used for cattle grazing, pits have been dug for storing vegetables, and the older gravestones are located in dense vegetation. Clearance and fencing are both required.
Number of existing gravestones
Approximately 500. Excess vegetation precluded an accurate count of the tombstones.
Date of oldest tombstone
1875
Date of newest tombstone
2000
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. Given the oldest preserved tombstone dates to the late 19th century, it can be gathered the cemetery was founded in that era. It cannot be found marked on old maps of the region.

It is likely that Jews first began to settle in Ruzhyn (Ukr., Rus. Ружин, Yid. ריזשין) in the early 18th century. In the 1810s, R. Israel Friedman (1796–1850), the founder of the Ruzhin Hasidic dynasty, famous for his extravagant, almost royal lifestyle, established his court in the town. In 1838, R. Israel was accused of involvement in the murder of two Jewish police informers, he was held in custody for two years, then released but placed under police surveillance. The rebbe left Ruzhyn in 1841 and eventually settled in Sadhora (Sadigura) near Chernivtsi, then part of the Austrian Empire.

The Jewish community of Ruzhyn had 1,647 members in 1847. In the 1880s, the community maintained a synagogue and two prayer houses. The Jewish population stood at 2,917 (67% of the town) in 1897. During the Civil War of 1918–21, the community survived several pogroms. A Yiddish-language school was established by the Soviet authorities in the 1920s. There were 1,108 Jewish residents in Ruzhyn in 1939.
Ruzhyn was captured by the Germans in July 1941, and 750 Jews were shot in September 1941. The remaining Jews from Ruzhyn and the nearby communities were confined in a ghetto. The majority of them were killed in May 1942. According to the 2001 census, there were less than 10 Jews living in Ruzhyn.

The exact date of the establishment of the cemetery is unknown, however the earliest tombstone dates back to 1875.