August 10, 2017

Fencing at Kremenets Jewish cemetery completed

The ESJF has now completed construction of a fence at the Jewish cemetery in Kremenets in Ternopil oblast in Western Ukraine. Frontage for this historical site replicates the original stone wall and wooden entrance gate at the cemetery.

As one of the oldest cities in Ukraine, Jews are known to have been in the Kremenets area as early as 1438 and a Polish Yeshiva operated in Kremenets during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Jewish community gradually expanded and prospered through the 16th century. Around the middle of the century, rabbinical representatives of the Kahals of Poland began gathering at the great Fairs to conduct the business of the Jewish communities. These conferences became known as the Council of the Four Lands. Volhynian representatives were from Ostrog and Kremenets. Notable Jews of the 16th and 17th centuries included Rabbis Mordechai ben Abraham Jaffe and 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.

The Nazis destroyed the Jewish community of Kremenets. Except for those who left Kremenets before the war and 14 survivors, all 15,000 people who lived in Kremenets in 1941 were murdered.

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