Sonyachne (former Knyazhe) Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
Starting at 9 Lesovaya Street, head 166 metres west before turning left at the fork in the road. Continue for a further 900 metres along the dirt road, at which point the cemetery can be found in the wooded area to the right, along the railway tracks.
GPS coordinates
48.40286, 28.82529
Perimeter length
199 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery is unfenced. Given there is no visible ditch around the site, its boundaries are not clear.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is unfenced. Given there is no visible ditch around the site, its boundaries are not clear. The site is located in a wooded area and is severely overgrown with thick bushes and trees.
Number of existing gravestones
Approximately 20. There are no legible tombstones, but there are graves on the site.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. According to the Commission on the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, the earliest tombstones on the cemetery date to 1870. As such, it can be inferred that the cemetery was already in use by the latter hald of the 19th century. It can also be found marked on a map of the region from the 1900s.

Jews likely first settled in Sonyachne (known then as Knyazhe or Knyazhe-Timanovka) in the first half of the 19th century when it became a part of the Podolia Governorate (Podolskaya Gubernia). In 1847, the Jewish Society of Knyazhe numbered 118 members. In 1897, the Jewish population of Knyazhe comprised 95% of the town: 1040 of 1094. In the early 20th century two Jewish prayer houses were listed in Knyazhe.
The Jewish population of Sonyachne suffered greatly during World War I and the civil war in Russia.
After 1922, Knyazhe became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR under the name Radyanske until 1955, and then Sonyachne. In 1929, a kolkhoz was founded where most Jewish families (46) found employment. In 1936, the Jewish population amounted to 63 families, of a total of 127 in the town. In 1939, the Jewish population of Radyanske numbered 421.
The German troops arrived on 22 July 1941, murdering those Jews who had neither fled nor been evacuated.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sonyachne became a part of the independent Ukraine, with no Jews living there.
The remains of the Jewish cemetery of Sonyachne, a few dozen barely legible matzevot, can be found to the South-West of the village, along the railway.