The Third Jewish cemetery in Odessa, Ukraine
Odessa is the regional center of southern Ukraine with a population of one million, where Jews have lived since their official foundation in 1794.
The first Jewish cemetery appeared in the city a year before its official foundation. Its area, according to local historians, was 2.68 hectares. The cemetery was liquidated in 1936. Only a fragment of the wall of the prayer house has survived from it, which can be seen at Vodoprovodnaya Street, 11. On the territory that once belonged to a Jewish cemetery, there is a park of culture and recreation named after Ilyich and the Yanvarets stadium.
The second Jewish cemetery appeared in Odessa in 1873 - a century after the appearance of the First. Its area was 23 hectares. It was located in the area of Lyustdorfskaya road. During the occupation, the Nazis killed 26 thousand people on the territory of the cemetery. It was eliminated in the 1970s. At the site of the cemetery, there is now a parking lot, a gas station and an Artillery Park.
The third Jewish cemetery (the official address is Khimicheskaya Street, 7) was founded in 1945. Among the people, it received the unofficial name "Cemetery of the happy journey", since it is located at the exit from the city not far from the Leningradskoe highway. The area of the cemetery is 750 hectares, which makes it one of the largest necropolises in Ukraine. There are about 50 thousand graves in the cemetery.
The graves of the rabbis and the memorial to the victims of the 1905 pogrom, which is located in the depths, were moved here from the liquidated Second Jewish cemetery.
The Third Jewish cemetery is active. Burials take place here in accordance with Jewish traditions. The funeral society Chevra Kaddisha operates at the cemetery.
The cemetery is a kind of museum of Jewish funeral culture. Here you can find both traditional tombstones in the form of stones with carved anthroponomical data of the deceased, and monuments with images of the deceased, epitaphs in both Hebrew and Russian, as well as sculptural images. For example, on the grave of Levina Sima Leonidovna (1943-2014), you can see a sculpture of a dove on top of the tombstone.
The cemetery is cataloged. The electronic register contains more than 6 thousand graves where anthroponomical or chronological data are completely or partially absent. Information gaps can be explained not only by the poor condition of individual graves, but also by the tradition of mentioning relatives on their own gravestones. For example, on the grave of Shurovetskaya Shaya Itskovna (1895-1972) below the epitaph there is a photo of a man and an inscription: "In memory of my father who died on January 1, 1938".