Snitkiv Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. Given the earliest preserved tombstone dates to 1751, it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by the mid-18th century. It can be found marked on a map of Western Russia from the 1900s and a Red Army map of the region from 1941.
Jews lived in Snitkiv from the first half of the 18th century when the region belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the 1730s Snitkiv’s Jews suffered from attacks by the Haidamaks. In 1765, in Snitkiv and its surroundings, 281 Jewish residents were listed. A wooden synagogue was built in that period.
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). By 1847, the Jewish community of Snitkiv numbered 774 members. In 1897, 1126 Jews lived in the town, where they comprised 39% of the total population. On the eve of World War I, Jews figured prominently in the economic life of Snitkiv; they owned most of the shops, a lumber storehouse, a pharmaceutical storehouse and a mill. In 1913, there were two wooden synagogues, and a branch of the Zionist organization He-Halutz, whose members underwent agricultural training in preparation for settling in the Land of Israel.
After 1922, Snitkiv became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. During the early Soviet period (until 1926) a branch of the Zionist He-Halutz movement still operated. About 1930 the Jewish collective farm “Kultura” was established there. Until the mid-1930s there was a Yiddish secondary school in Snitkiv. In 1926, 1181 Jews comprised 31.9% of the town’s population. In the course of the 1920s and 1930s many young Jews left Snitkiv in search of new educational and vocational opportunities.
Few Jews of Snitkiv were able to flee after the outbreak of the German-Soviet war. On July 23 1941, German troops occupied the town. In a pogrom staged immediately after the entry of the Germans a number of local Jews were killed. Jewish houses were marked by Stars of David and Jews were also forced to wear them on their clothes – on the back and on the chest. A short time after the start of the occupation the Jews of Snitkiv were confined to a ghetto. The ghetto inmates suffered from starvation, forced slavery and beatings. In the second half of 1941, Bessarabian Jews from across the Dniester River were brought to the Snitkiv ghetto. In March and August 1942 able-bodied Jews from Snitkiv were sent to the Letichiv labor camp. The majority of Snitkiv’s Jews were killed in August and October 1942. Snitkiv was liberated by the Red Army in the second half of March 1944.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Snitkiv became a part of the independent Ukraine.
The Jewish cemetery of Snitkiv is situated to the north of the town, closer to the neighboring village Ryasne. It contains about 1000 matzevot, which date back to between the mid 18th and mid 20th centuries.