The history of the Jewish cemetery
Ancient tombstones in the Jewish cemetery of Mogilev are currently under the threat of complete destruction.
The Jewish community is attempting to get “Historical and Cultural Monument” status to the ancient part of the cemetery. Such a status will oblige the state to protect the tombstones.
In order to receive this status, we must carry out restoration work in the cemetery by repairing more than 100 monuments damaged by time or vandalism.
This requires your help.
If you value Jewish heritage and believe in its timeless contribution to the world culture, please support these efforts by making a donation.
All your contributions will go directly to “Mogilev Cemetery Restoration fund”.
If you have any questions please reach out to our fundraising team:
ћ Ida Shenderovich (Mogilev, Belarus)- firstname.lastname@example.org
ћ Alex Litin (Mogilev, Belarus)- email@example.com
ћ Yakov Pevzner (Northampton, USA)- firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a donation using PayPal please use this link: https://www.paypal.me/Mogilev
To make a donation using credit or debit cards please use this link: https://www.gofundme.com/mogilev-cemetery-restoration-fund
The only surviving Jewish cemetery in Mogilev is located between Olchinskogo and Nacional’nij Spusk Street. This cemetery, historically known as beskhaim, was first mentioned in written records in 1809 г.
Some of the long-term residents recall that the destruction of the cemetery began during the Second World War . In the 60s and 70s of the 20th century, the Mogilev Jewish cemetery was raided. Monuments made of expensive materials were sometimes stolen and re-used at other Mogilev cemeteries. The same places were used for new burials replacing the remnants of the previous ones. Since 1979, citizens of all nationalities and faiths were allowed to be buried at the cemetery, as national and religious traditions were not considered at the time.
Thanks to the leadership of Nahum Abramovich Joffe and support of the U.S. sponsors Mark Gitler, David Shemano, Rafael Reichenberg, Mogilev Jewish Community has renovated the cemetery. In particular, the area was fenced, room for the guards was built, elegant gates with Jewish symbols were installed, phone and electricity were enabled, dozens of tombstones (matsevas) were put back in place, and the remnants previously on the surface were re-buried in the ground.
In 2002 the Mogilev city executive committee divided beskhaim into two parts, old and new. New burials were banned in the old part of the cemetery to protect the Jewish tombs from vandalism, and soon new burials were completely outlawed within the entire territory. Currently, only the deceased whose relatives were buried in the cemetery can be buried there. However, the cemetery is opened for visitors during the day.
Many descendants of Mogilev Jews resting at beskhaim, do not reside in Mogilev as they were killed during the Second World War or moved abroad.
The matsevas represent monuments of the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Unfortunately, older Matseva did not survive. Nevertheless, the Jewish Cemetery is a longstanding memorial to the past of Mogilev and a part of its present. If the cemetery had tourists, they would be able to see a variety of objects with high historical and artistic value, such as exquisite tombstone carvings or the monument to the blind physics teacher Carnot installed by his former students.
Project "Do not forget" by the Mogilev Jewish community
In the summer of 2013, participants of the program "Do not forget" cleaned and photographed the matsevas in the old part of the cemetery. Next, with the help of Alexandra Fishel, specialist in epigraphy from Kiev, we translated the names and dates in the inscriptions into Russian and English. This is the information that follows. We tried very hard to be as precise as possible, but some errors may still remain. We would appreciate your help in correcting any inconsistencies you might see between the pictures and texts.
Jews, in Mogilev and elsewhere, whose relatives used to live in the city, can enquire whether their ancestors were buried at the Mogilev cemetery and whether their tombstones have been preserved. We hope that this inquiry will help them not only to learn more about their roots, but may also encourage them to be involved in the preservation of the cemetery.
Load list (MS Word) with photos (70 mb from MEGA)
Load list (MS Word) with photos (70 mb from Google DRIVE)