With works now well underway on the restoration of the pre-burial house at Chernivtsi (Chernowitz) Jewish cemetery in SW Ukraine, ESJF Chief Engineer Hryhoriy Arshynov undertook our first full technical inspection at the site yesterday. The cemetery and the outstanding structure of the pre-burial house was constructed in 1905 with funds provided by the local Jewish community.
The architectural project for the pre-burial house (Bet Tahara) was carried out by Josef Funkel and marked the first experience in the use of pre-cast concrete in domes in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
A dossier in the State Archive of Chernivtsi oblast however, recounts that the city’s architect did not share Funkel’s confidence and initially did not allow the use of the pre-burial house because he was still unsure of the safety of the dome. But Funkel was proved right. 112 years later, our inspection showed that despite the years of neglect, the dome remains strong and will undergo the full necessary renovation.
Our principal areas of work are currently ensuring construction quality but also the retention of the authentic elements of décor. And these will be utilised at the The Chernivtsi Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews. Funding for this special restoration project of the ESJF has been provided by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.