ESJF 2019/20 surveys in five European countries

Balta Old Jewish Cemetery on Yaroslavs'koho Street

Historical map and perimeter :

Site Address:
The territory between Yaroslavs'koho and Turheneva Streets.
GPS coordinates:
47.94100, 29.6272731
Perimeter length:
631 metres
Is the cemetery demolished:
Type and height of existing fence:
No fence
General Site Condition:
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery. The territory is overbuilt with private houses.
Number of existing gravestones:
No tombstones preserved.
Urgency of erecting a fence:
Fence is not needed (overbuilt)
Land Ownership:
Drone surveys:
No. The territory is private property.

The cemetery is marked on a Russian topographic map published in 1927, created with data of the 1910s. Presumably, it existed from the 18th century or earlier, and was functioning until the mid- or late 19th century (in the late 19th century, the new Jewish cemetery on Krasnyy Yar was already operating in the northern part of town). The cemetery was demolished in the 1930s, and the site was overbuilt.

The first Jews settled in Balta in the early 16th century. In 1768, many Jews of Balta and its environs suffered from the Haidamak massacre. In 1856, the Jewish community consisted of 7,364 individuals. In the mid-19th century, 13 synagogues existed. During the pogrom in late March 1882, 125 Jewish houses and shops were destroyed. By 1897, the Jewish population reached 13,235 (57% of the total population). In the late 19th until the early 20th century, Zionist movements were widespread in Balta, which led to the town becoming a centre of Zionism. The peak of the Jewish population in Balta, with 14,924 people (54% of the total population), was in 1910. In that year, 22 synagogues and two cemeteries existed in the city. In 1916, the student Zionist organisation HeKhaver was founded, the members of which were teachers in the Balta Jewish vocational school. The Jewish community survived severe damage during the years of the Civil War, although many fled to Odessa. In February 1919, the troops of the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic staged a pogrom lasting 9 days. The Jewish population decreased to 9,116 in 1926 (40% of the total population), and to 4,711 by 1939. On August 5, 1941, Nazi and Romanian forces occupied Balta. A ghetto with around 4,000 Jews from Balta and refugees from Bessarabia was set up in December 1941. More than 1,000 Jews were deported to Voytovka and Nikolayev, the majority of which were murdered or died of starvation. Children from the ghetto’s two orphanages were deported to Romania. During the war period, an underground Jewish organisation with members from Balta and Odessa was active. 1,795 Jews of the Balta ghetto survived.