The ESJF is pleased to announce it has completed construction on the fencing at Kremenets Jewish cemetery in Ternopil oblast, Western Ukraine. The frontage has been designed to replicate the cemetery’s original stone wall and wooden gate.
One of the oldest cities in Ukraine, Kremenets is known to have been home to a Jewish population as early as 1438, with a Polish Yeshiva operating in Kremenets in the 15th and 16th centuries. Throughout the 16th century, the city’s Jewish community gradually expanded and prospered, and by the middle of the century, rabbinical representatives of the Kahals of Poland had begun gathering at the great fairs to conduct business for the Jewish communities.
These conferences became known as the Council of the Four Lands. Volhynian representatives were from Ostrog and Kremenets. Notable Jews from the 16th and 17th centuries included Rabbi Mordechai ben Abraham Jaffe and Rabbi Samson ben Bezalel, brother of Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague.
By the end of the 19th century, Jews made up some 37 percent of the city’s population. The famous violinist Isaac Stern was born in Kremenets.
During the Holocaust, the Nazis wiped out the Kremenets Jewish community. Aside from those who left before the war and 14 survivors, all 15,000 Jews who lived in Kremenets in 1941 were murdered.