Unexpected cemetery discovery in Novoselytsia, Chernivetska oblast
ESJF started surveying in Chernivetska oblast; we have already visited over 60 sites. In many cases, our work concerns making sure the presence or absence of Jewish cemeteries in places where the historical record suggests a possibility of long-term Jewish presence, but where accurate documentation was hitherto missing.
However, something unexpected happened last week, when our team found a cemetery in a place where we did not expect to. Surveyor Ian Galevsky was driving at the borderland area between Bukovina and Bessarabia, he arrived in Novoselytsia, an important Jewish town with a synagogue that features rare frescoes. He surveyed a cemetery we already knew about, that is in fact fenced and well maintained. He stopped to inquire about the road conditions on the way to his next destination. He met a local man, Gennadiy Alexandrov and his daughter, Diana. They struck up a conversation, and they asked him to follow them, as there was another Jewish cemetery in Novoselytsia that they knew of, overgrown and hidden.
We had no historical evidence about another Jewish cemetery in Novoselytsia, but the site was indeed there, overgrown and hidden, with some truly gorgeous gravestones preserved. Nothing quite like this happened since ESJF started surveying, and yet again we are humbled by the help of locals. We would like to thank Diana and Gennadiy, we would have never made this discovery without them. ESJF will establish the age of the cemetery and we will try to reconstruct this lost bit of history.