Tovste Jewish Cemetery
Drone survey :
Perimeter map :
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. It appears on cadastral maps of 1826, 1858 and 1899. It can be assumed that the cemetery already existed in the middle of the 18th century. The grave of Baal Shem Tov’s mother, Sarah, is located on the Jewish cemetery of Tovste.
Jews were present there in the late 17th century. The leader and a founder of Hasidism, Baal Sham Tov, resided here in 1730-1740. By the same time, a Beit-Midrash, a bathhouse and a mikvah operated. The Jews were worked in agricultural, and grain trade in the 17th-18th centuries. Chortkiv, Vizhnitz and Kopichinitz Hasidic dynasties had followers in Tovste from the late 19th century. The Jewish population was 2,157 (67,4% of the total population) in 1880. The Jewish population dropped to 1,196 in 1921. The Jewish community of Tovste suffered an economic decline during WWI, and later in the 1930s. The anti-semitism upsurged during this time as well. In the interwar period, the Zionist movement was active in Tovste. In 1931, 1,800 Jews resided here, and this figure increased to 3,000 by 1941. On November 11, 1941, 150 Jews were sent to the Kamenka labour camp. In April 1942, the Wehrmacht troops imposed 400 women to forced labour in a rubber plant farms. In late August and early October, 1,200 Jews were deported to the Belzec death camp, 120 people were murdered on the spot. A ghetto with several thousand prisoners existed from December 1942 till June 6, 1943. A monument was erected at the Jewish cemetery of Tovste after WWII.