Jewish cemetery of the city of Zhitomir
The general history of the city of Zhytomyr and the Jews who lived there, relates us back to the beginning of the eighteenth century. According to the official data, it was then that they began actively populating the city. And this had a really beneficial effect on the development of a still very small town.
They were engaged in trade and various crafts. Since 1804, books in Hebrew have been published in Zhytomyr. This case developed so much that 30 years later the Jewish printing press was transported to the city, which in 1845 was one of two allowed in Russia. Also professional, specialized schools were opened, the Jewish library worked. Given the fact that there are quite a few graves of famous scientists, doctors, lawyers in the Jewish cemetery, it can be said that the community's participation in the life of the city was the most active.
The number of people increased over the years, and by the nineteenth century Jews accounted for more than a third of the total number of townspeople, and by the end of the century, 46% of the total population was accrued. Therefore, it is not surprising that the ХІХ century is considered the period when Zhytomyr became one of the real centers of cultural and religious life of the Jews of that region. Perhaps, today's Jewish cemetery of the city appeared exactly in that period, at least, the oldest burials on its territory testify to it. Although in the Soviet era and during the German occupation the cemetery was very damaged and is now only partially preserved - many unique monuments were destroyed. Because, probably, among the destroyed there were also more ancient burials.
It is believed that in 1976 it was officially closed. But despite this, the burial of relatives is possible now. In any case, this cemetery remains special in its importance and historical value. Many Jewish tzaddiks were buried here. For example, to this day, the grave of tzaddik Aaron from Zhytomyr, a revered rabbi, has been preserved. He was once a disciple of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem-Tov, who was the founder of Hasidism.
Although back in the 1980s many Jews left Zhytomyr for Israel or other countries, but now some of them continue to take care of the memory of their family. They manage to provide care for the graves of relatives buried in Zhytomyr, even at a distance. Thus, in recent years the cemetery is gradually acquiring a well-groomed appearance and it can be said that the restoration process has started successfully, but it has not yet been completed.