ESJF are pleased to announce that we have finished construction on our new protective fencing around Varyazh Jewish cemetery in the Lviv region of Ukraine.
The cemetery, which is home to around 10 preserved tombstones, was first surveyed by ESJF in July 2019, under the framework of our EU-funded Pilot Project. While the exact date of the cemetery’s establishment is uncertain, it was most likely in use by the second half of the 19th century, as it appears on maps of the region from the 1880s. However, the Jewish history of Varyazh stretches back further, at least to the 16th century.
By the late 18th century, Varyazh had become an important centre of Belz Hasidism, and the Jewish community thrived, engaging in crafts and trade. By 1900, Jews made up 65% of the town’s population. However, the population began to drop in the early 20th century, and a number of fires wreaked havoc on the community, with the synagogue burning down in 1921, and another claiming the homes of 50 Jewish families in 1934. In June 1941, Nazi forces occupied Varyazh, setting up a labour camp. By the end of the Holocaust, the entire Jewish community of the town had been destroyed.
We would like to express our thanks to the Auswärtiges Amt Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany. With their generous support, ESJF have now fenced over 170 cemetery sites, and are making good progress towards our 2020 target of protecting 30 new sites.
We are delighted to see these precious cemeteries receive the protection they deserve!