Vinnytsya Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Ukraine
Region
Vinnytsia
District
Vinnytsia
Settlement
Vinnytsya
Site address
The cemetery is located behind kindergarten №71.
GPS coordinates
49.22692, 28.4821
Perimeter length
890 мetres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery has a fence installed in November 2019 by ESJF.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery has a locked gate. The key is kept by Anatoly Kerzhner, a representative of the Jewish community. Some residents use the cemetery as a garden, where part of the fence has been removed to allow outside access. There are strange buildings on the cemetery. The tombstones are piled in separate heaps.
Number of existing gravestones
About 500. All the tombstones lie toppled, piled in heaps.
Date of oldest tombstone
1829 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
1941 (the latest tombstone found by ESJF).
Urgency of erecting a fence
Low
Land ownership
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
Ohel
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

According to IAJGS, the cemetery was established in 1727. It can be found marked on a Russian map of the region from the 1900s.

Vinnytsya’s roots date back to the Middle Ages, it was founded in the fourteenth century on the left bank of the Bug river, and was protected by two castles; it had been an important trade and political center since the 14th century. In the 15th century, Lithuanian Grand Duke Alexander Jagiellon granted Vinnytsya Magdeburg city rights. Since 1569 the region had belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For a short time between 1672 and 1699 the region was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Jews are first mentioned in Vinnytsya in 1532. In 1616, there were at least 50 Jewish households. On July 7th 1648, Khmelnitsky’s Cossacks captured the town and killed most of Jews, Jesuits and nobles. In 1743 and 1750 a significant number of Jews were murdered by Haidamaks. In 1765, 348 Jews lived in 96 households. In 1776, the number had fallen to 190. By 1787, Jews numbered 691. In 1789, they owned 53 inns and most of the shops.
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 community of Vinnytsya numbered 3882. In 1864, 3929 Jews, who prayed in 2 synagogues, which were built in 1731 and 1798, and 7 prayer houses lived in the city. According to the Census of 1897, Vinnytsia had a total population of 30,563 people of which 11,689 were Jewish (40%) and was the third largest city of Podolia after Kamianets-Podilskyi and Uman. In 1909, the number of prayer houses reached 12, not including the two synagogues. A talmud-torah is mentioned in 1753 and two more were founded in the early 19th century and in 1894. In the early 19th century a Jewish hospital was established and in 1894 an almshouse was also built. In 1909, 2 private schools for girls, a two-grade school for boys, and a vocational school were listed. In October 1905 a pogrom claimed a number of victims.Followed by another pogrom on August 30th 1919
After 1922, Vinnytsia became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In 1926, Jews comprised 21,800 residents of the total of around 58,000. The religious life was abandoned, but the cultural “Soviet style” life in Yiddish flourished during the 1920s. In 1932-33 the Holodomor, and in 1937-37 the Great Terror claimed thousands of victims, including Jews. In 1939, the Jewish population of Vinnytsya numbered 33,150.
Vinnytsia was occupied by German troops on 19 July 1941. Adolf Hitler sited his eastern headquarters, Führerhauptquartier Wehrwolf, near the town, in Stryzhavka; the complex was built in 1941-1942. Nazi atrocities were committed in and around Vinnytsia by Einsatzgruppe C. Estimates of the number of victims range from 28,000 to as high as 35,000 Jews who were deported from the Vinnytsia region and the majority of those later died. Vinnytsia was liberated by the Red Army on 20 March 1944. After liberation, those Jews who in July 1941 were drafted to the Red Army or succeeded to flee to the East, returned.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vinnytsia became a part of the independent Ukraine. In 2001, the Jewish community number 1700.
The Jewish burial society (chevra kadisha) was established in 1654. Today the cemetery of Vinnytsya contains a few hundred matzevot, which date to between the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.

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