Zhmerynka Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Site address
The cemetery is located across the street from the house on 12 Moskalenko Street. To access the site, enter through the Christian cemetery.
GPS coordinates
49.02451, 28.13013
Perimeter length
655 мetres
Is the cemetery demolished
Type and height of existing fence
A broken masonry wall runs around part of the older section, but the remainder of the site is unfenced.
Preservation condition
Unfenced Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is located adjacent to the Christian cemetery. The older section of the site is overgrown and some of the graves are toppled. According to local residents, the fence was dismantled for scraps by thieves. There is a separate cemetery for children, as well as an older section fenced by a now ruined masonry wall.
Number of existing gravestones
Approximately 3,000 graves.
Date of oldest tombstone
1895 (the earliest tombstone found by ESJF).
Date of newest tombstone
2019 (the latest tombstone found by ESJF).
Urgency of erecting a fence
Land ownership
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys

Historical overview

Given the oldest preserved tombstone is dated 1902, it can be inferred the cemetery was already in use by the early 20th century. According to IAJGS, it was founded in 1884.

Zhmerynka was established as a city with Magdeburg rights in 1591. Before that time, the two villages: Big Zhmerynka village and Small Zhmerynka village, were known to exist in the 16th century. From 1569 the region belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
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). In 1865, Zhmerynka railway station was established, with the first train in 1870. On April 27, 1881, an anti-Jewish pogrom took place. In 1887, Jews comprised almost 40% of the total population. In 1897, Zhmerynka villages and station had a Jewish population of 2396 out of 13994 total (17%). In October 1905 a pogrom (without victims) took place. In 1909 in Zhmerynka operated 7 synagogues and 3 Jewish schools: for boys, for girls, and mixed.
The Jewish population of Zhmerynka suffered greatly during World War I and the civil war in Russia. Three pogroms in 1918-1919 claimed a number of victims.
After 1922, Zhmerynka became a part of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic within the USSR. In 1926, there lived 4380 Jews (20%). Most Jews worked in artisan cooperatives or in a kolkhoz. A Yiddish elementary school was active. In 1939, the Jewish population of Zhmerynka was 4630 (17.8%)
Zhmerynka was occupied by the Romanian Army from 17 July 1941 until 20 March 1944 and incorporated into the Transnistria Governorate. A ghetto was established in Zhmerynka with a population that reached 2000-3000 Jews. Jews also arrived after fleeing German-administered areas, as well as from Bukovina and Bessarabia after being deported from there. The Judenrat that was established, along with a Jewish police force and various relief organizations, could not prevent the execution of 286 Jews from Brailow. Many local Jews survived, almost 1000 still resided in the ghetto in June 1944. In December 1944, the surviving young Jews in Zhmerynka organized a clandestine Zionist organization, and became known for their open struggle for aliyah, they sent aletter to Pravda requesting that the Soviet authorities allow them to emigrate to Israel.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Zhmerynka became a part of the independent Ukraine. In 1959, around 3200 Jewish residents lived there (10.9%), in 1970 around 2600 (7.2%) and in 1979 around 1800 (4.3%).
The Jewish cemetery was established in 1884. Today it contains around 3000 gravestones, which date from the early 20th century, and is still in use.

3D model