July 11, 2019

Bohuslav cemetery now recognised as a historic site of local significance

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

ESJF fenced the cemetery in 2015. In March 2019, the memorial plaque placed there was vandalised. ESJF staff visited Bohuslav on March 19 to discuss with Mayor Dyachenko and Chairman of the Bohuslav Jewish Community Roman Tivin methods to improve security at the site.

Bohuslav mayor, Vyacheslav Mykhailovych Dyachenko strongly condemned the act. The local Jewish community filed a police complaint, which is currently under investigation. In order to prevent acts of vandalism in the future, ESJF submitted a proposal to recognise the cemetery as a historic monument. With the strong support of Mayor Dyachenko, we are happy to report that this status has been granted, and the safety of the site is ensured.

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.” The Bohuslav cemetery dates back to the end of the 18th century, when Bohuslav was part of the Russian Empire. The site has an older part with gravestones from the 19th century, and a newer part with 200 gravestones from the 20th century. Known as Boslov by its Jewish residents, the city contained a sizeable Jewish population during the period up to WWII.

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. Grandparents Moshe-Joseph and Gitl Gamarnitsky are buried in the cemetery.

The mayor also expressed his hopes about further collaboration with the ESJF, working towards increased visibility for this rich Jewish heritage, monuments that bear witness to a long history of interethnic coexistence.

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

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