Kryzhopil Jewish Cemetery
Given the oldest preserved tombstone is dated 1937, it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by the first half of the 20th century. According to IAJGS, the cemetery was established in 1932.
Kryzhopil was founded in 1866 as a railway station, and named after the neighboring village, which had existed since at least the 17th century. The town with the railway station grew fast, and attracted many Jews. Access to the railway brought work and greater mobility for the people in the town and the smaller villages nearby. At the turn of the 20th century, many Jews from the nearby villages migrated to the new regional centre of Kryzhopil. The pace of life was faster in Kryzhopil than in the villages and the economic opportunities for Jews were more numerous. Easy access to the railway encouraged travel to cities such as Odessa, and it would become a lifeline for Jews throughout the years leading up to World War Two as Jewish families began to buy and sell goods that they then transported by rail between Kryzhopil and Odessa. By 1897, Jews comprised almost 60% of Kryzhopil’s population: 668 of 1126. In the early 20th century there were 2 synagogues. In 1914, Jews of Kryzhopil owned: 2 inns, 4 wood stores, 3 oil stores, 2 pharmaceutical warehouses, a beer warehouse and 38 shops.
In May 1919 Kryzhopil suffered an Anti-Jewish pogrom in which 40 Jews were murdered and in August 1919 the second pogrom claimed the lives of 20 Jews.
After 1922, Kryzhopil became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In 1923 a Jewish Yiddish school for 185 students (including those from the surrounding area) was opened. In 1931 a Jewish kolkhoz and a Jewish agricultural collective farm were established. The Great synagogue was demolished with Jews using a small prayer house instead.
On June 22nd 1941, Kryzhopil was occupied by the Germans and Romanians, and included in the Transnistria Governorate. In the first days 14 Jews were shot to death, the Jewish neighborhood was burned, and a ghetto was established. In summer 1942 Jewish deportees from Bessarabia and Bukovina were brought to Kryzhopil. In 1943, in the ghetto were 1200 local and 74 deported Jews. The prayer house and the oldest part of the Jewish cemetery were demolished and the central street was paved with the matzevot. Kryzhopil served as a transit center for the Jewish deportees from Romania to Transnistria, many of whom died in Kryzhopil and were buried there. Kryzhopil was liberated on March 17, 1944.
After the war the Jewish life in Kryzhopil reappeared, including semi-clandestine religious life, with both a rabbi and a shokhet.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kryzhopil became part of the independent Ukraine, and the Jewish life was reestablished, however the community itself is small and diminishing.
The Jewish cemetery of Kryzhopil contains around 500 headstones, including remains from both prewar and post-war graves, and is still in use today.