Mohyliv-Podilskyy Old Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
The cemetery site is located on 41 Kotsyubinsky Street.
GPS coordinates
48.43972, 27.8121
Perimeter length
Failed to install perimeter.
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is demolished. Its former site is now occupied by a cemetery.
Number of existing gravestones
No tombstones preserved.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

According to Commission on the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, the cemetery was founded in the 17th century and demolished in the 1930s during the construction of the stadium.

The first mention of the town dates from 1595 when the region belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The owner of the town, Moldavian prince Ieremia Movilă bestowed it as a dowry gift to his daughter, who married into the Potocki family of Polish nobility. The groom named the town Movilǎu in honor of his father-in-law. Located on the trade route from Ukraine to Moldavia, it grew rapidly into an important trading center and the largest town in Podillya. It made a part of the Podolian Voivodeship of the Lesser Poland Province of the Polish Crown, although it was occupied by the Ottomans from 1672–1699. It was a multi-ethnic border town composed of Poles, Greeks, Armenians, Serbs, Vlachs, Bosniaks and Jews. The first mention of Jews living in Mohyliv-on-Dniester was around 1637. The town was granted rights under Magdeburg law in 1743 and developed into a flourishing economic and cultural center. In the 1740s, Jews owned 170 houses and by 1776, two synagogues were built. In 1765, there were 957 Jews in the town and the surroundings.
In 1793, after the Second partition of Poland, it came under the control of the Russian Empire, and became a part of the Podolia Governorate (Podolskaya Gubernia). Russia turned the town into a county seat. In 1808, father and son Shteins moved their Hebrew printing house to Mohyliv-on-Dniester. In 1847, 5411 Jews lived in the town. In 1867 there were 16 synagogues and prayer houses and in 1851 a Jewish state school was established. Most Jews were engaged in commerce and crafting. In 1897, Jews comprised more than 55% of the population (12344 of 22315). Ever since then the Jewish population of Mohyliv-Podilskyi has only fallen.
In the beginning of the 20th century there were 6 Jewish schools (for boys and girls), a talmud-torah, a synagogue and 17 prayer houses as well as a Jewish hospital. In October 1905 an anti-Jewish pogrom took place. The Jewish population of Mohyliv suffered greatly during World War I and the civil war in Russia. In December 1917, then in autumn 1918, pogroms in Mohyliv claimed a number of victims.
After 1922, Mohyliv became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. During the Soviet period the Jewish life and Jewish institutions in Mohyliv had been forbidden. In 1926, 9622 Jews lived in the town, which was 41.8%, in 1939; 8703 (40%).
Mohyliv-Podilskyi was occupied by Romanian and German troops in July 1941 and incorporated into the Romanian-ruled Transnistria Governorate. Soon thereafter, thousands of Jews in the town were murdered by the occupiers. Mohyliv-Podilskyi soon became a transit camp for Jews expelled from Bessarabia and Bukovina to Transnistria. From September 1941 to February 1942 more than 55,000 deportees came through the town. Thousands of people were jammed into the transit camp and treated cruelly by the Romanian guards. Many Jews were not allowed to stay in Mohyliv-Podilskyi; thousands were forced to travel by foot to nearby villages and towns. The 15,000 who were initially permitted to stay in the town organized themselves into groups. Some 2000—3000 were given residence permits, while the rest lived in constant fear of being deported into the Transnistrian interior for forced labor.
In December 1943 over 3000 Jews were allowed to return to Romania, and in March 1944, Jewish leaders in Bucharest got permission to bring back 1400 orphans. Mohyliv-Podilskyi was liberated that month, with many Jewish men immediately drafted by the Soviet army. Many who stayed in the city were killed by German bombs. Most of the deportees were allowed to return to Romania in the spring of 1945.
In 1959,around 4700 Jews lived in the town comprising 22.5% of the population. In 1960 a semi-clandestine prayer house existed, it was later outlawed. However after 1970 a synagogue was reestablished.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mohyliv-Podilskyi became a part of the independent Ukraine. A tiny community of only a few hundred people own a small synagogue today.
The Old Jewish cemetery of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, believed to have been founded in the 17th century, was demolished and built over in the 1930s.