Chernivtsi Jewish Cemetery
Chernivtsi was founded in 1383, and by 1432 it was already a sizable town. From 1569 the region belonged to The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Jews apparently first settled there in the early 17th century, with a few Jewish households mentioned in 1661. In 1765, more than 50 people and 14 households were registered and in 1790 the Jewish community of the town and neighboring villages numbered 244 members.
In 1793, after the Second partition of Poland, Chernivtsi came under the control of the Russian Empire, and became part of the Podolia Governorate (Podolskaya Gubernia). Since the early 19th century Jews earned their living mostly from small scale commerce and both mills in Chernivtsi belonged to Jews. In 1838, in Chernivtsi only one Jewish 3rd guild merchant was registered. In 1852, there were 40 Jewish craftsmen, in early 1880s, 66 Jewish craftsmen and 25 owners of small shops.
In 1853, Chernivtsi had a synagogue and a beit midrash for 855 members of the congregation. In 1871 here were 319 wooden and 20 stone houses.
In 1897, Chernivtsi Jewish population comprised 2274 of the population of 8994 (25%). Of the Chernivtsi Jews, most earned a livelihood as small scale tradesmen and 267 were artisans. In the local sugar-refinery, which employed 400 men, only 14 of them were Jewish. There were 17 journeymen and 20 agricultural laborers. Many of the town’s Jews lived in poverty. In 1898 there were 60 families who received fuel from charitable organizations.
In 1919-1920, during the civil war in Russia Chernivtsi happily escaped pogroms. After 1922, Chernivtsi became part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In 1930, the Jews numbered 1917. In 1941, many Jews fled to the East but some remained behind. In mid-July 1941, Chernivtsi was occupied by the German and Romanian troops, and included in the Transnistria Governorate. The ghetto was established in the Jewish neighborhood of Chernivtsi, where about 1500 local Jews and several hundred deportees from Bessarabia and Bukovina were housed. Many of the prisoners died due to starvation, disease and forced labor. Several times the ghetto was saved from Aktions by paying a bribe to the Romanian administration. By the end of 1943, 170 Bessarabian and 279 Bukovinian Jews as well as at least a thousand local Jews lived in Chernivtsi ghetto. On February 12th 1944, Chernivtsi was liberated. A few months later the Chernivtsi synagogue was reopened.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Chernivtsi became part of the independent Ukraine.
The Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi contains at least 3000 graves which date back to the late 19th–20th century.