July 11, 2019

Bohuslav cemetery now recognised as a historic site of local significance

Bohuslav Cemetery has been officially recognised as a historic site of local significance by Mayor Vyacheslav Mykhailovych Dyachenko and the Bohuslav local Council.

The ESJF fenced the cemetery in 2015, installing a memorial plaque upon completion of the work. When the memorial plaque was vandalised in March 2019, ESJF staff visited and discussed methods to improve security at the site with Mayor Dyachenko and Roman Tivin, Chairman of the Bohuslav Jewish Community.

Mayor Dyachenko strongly condemned the act, while the local Jewish community filed a police complaint, which is still under investigation. In order to prevent further acts of vandalism, the ESJF submitted a proposal to have the cemetery recognised as a historical monument. Thanks to the staunch support of Mayor Dyachenko, we are delighted to report this status has been granted, ensuring the site will be safer in future.

ESJF Chief Executive Officer Philip Carmel said: “While it is of concern that such acts of vandalism take place, it is gratifying that this was immediately brought to our attention by our monitoring systems and the cooperation of the local authorities.”

Bohuslav cemetery dates back to the end of the 18th century, when the region was still a part of the Russian Empire. The site is split between an older section with gravestones from the 19th century, and a newer one with some 200 gravestones from the 20th century. Known as Boslov by its Jewish residents, until WWII the city was home to a sizeable Jewish population.

The great Yiddish-language writer Sholem Aleichem (Shalom Rabinovich) spent summers at his grandparents’ home in Bohuslav as a child, and often referred to the town in his works. His grandparents, Moshe-Joseph and Gitl Gamarnitsky are buried in the cemetery.

The mayor also expressed his hopes for future collaboration with the ESJF, in the hope of working towards increased visibility for this rich Jewish heritage; that the monuments bearing witness to a long history of interethnic coexistence may be treasured and protected.

We would like to express our gratitude to Mayor Dyachenko, Roman Tivin, and the local Jewish community for their support.

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