Ternopil Old Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. According to the researchers of IAJGS and POLIN Museum, the cemetery emerged around 1550. The cemetery was closed in 1840s, when the New cemetery was established. The cemetery was vandalised during WWII and finally demolished in 1960s.
The Jews were among the first settlers of Ternopil’ when it was founded in 1540. A fortified synagogue was constructed in 1640. During the Khmelnytskyi massacres, many Jews escaped, the rest were murdered. In 1765, 1,246 Jews lived in Ternopil’. In the early 19th century, Ternopil’ became the centre of Haskala in Galicia. One of the leading figures of Haskala in Galicia, Yosef Perl (1773- 1839) was born in the town. Illustrious Maskilim Nachman Krochmal (1785 — 1840), Mendel Satanover (1749 — 1826), S. L. Goldberg (1807–46) lived in Ternopil’. Misnagdim and different Hassidic groups were presented. In 1788, the first Jewish school was founded, and the second was founded in 1813. The Jewish population stood at 13,842 (50,5% of the total population) in 1890. During the WWI, refugees flooded the town. The Jewish population slightly dropped to 13,493 in 1900 and stood at 13,768 in 1921. In the interwar period, different Zionist organizations, Bund, and Aguddat Israel functioned in Ternopil’. Two Hebrew schools (Tarbut and Mizrahi), Talmud-Torah and two private gymnasiums operated. In 1931, the Jewish population was 13,999 (39,2% of the total population). On July 2, 1941, the Wehrmacht troops occupied Ternopil’. A pogrom started in two days after occupation claimed the lives of thousands of Jews. On September 5, 1941, a ghetto was created. In 1942, around 6,000 Jews were sent to the Belzec death camp. On June 20, 1943, the ghetto was liquidated, and, on August 6, 1943, the labour camp was closed in Ternopil’. In 1943, around 3,000 Jews were murdered. A few local Jews survived.