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Jewish cemetery in Bragin

Bragin is the center of the eponymous district of the Gomel region of Belarus, known since the XII century. The first mention of the Jewish community in the city dates back to 1648. According to the data of 1897, 2.2 thousand Jews lived in Bragin, who made up half of the inhabitants of this settlement.

Sources mention two Jewish cemeteries in the city. The first existed until the 1890s in the Zagorodie district. Preserved documents about the litigation of the Jewish community and the Christians of the town regarding the necropolis.

In 1855, a priest of the Saint Nicholas Church by the name of Maxim Yeremich petitioned to move the Jewish cemetery away from the city. He argued that the cemetery was full, and the Jews buried the dead shallowly. The cemetery was located just eight meters from the homes of Christians and was a source of infectious diseases. The Jews, in turn, offered to buy the land and move the houses of Christians. In 1855, a decree appeared on the transfer of the cemetery. Nevertheless, the matter was not resolved until 1861. There is a document about this by Yeremich.

There is also evidence that in 1887 a retired soldier named Semyon Mazuga agreed to sell part of his land to expand the Jewish cemetery.

In the 20th century, the Jewish population of Bragin declined. Before the outbreak of World War II, about 900 Jews lived there. At the end of the 20th century, the city found itself in a contaminated area after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and part of its population was resettled.

Nowadays a little more than 40 graves have been preserved at the cemetery on Chalidze Street. They are cataloged and the list is available on the web. The earliest surviving burial site is dated 1924. The grave belongs to a certain Shalom Borukhovich. The surname and date of birth have not been preserved. The latest burial is dated 1989 and belongs to Petlakh Fana Leibovna, born in 1903.

Of the surviving graves, attention is drawn to the burial of Rozhavsky Dovyd Zalmonovich, born in 1885. The date of the burial has not been preserved. All the rest of the buried were born later than that date.

Surnames have not been preserved on five graves. Three more have initials. Eight more matzevahs fully or partially retain their names and initials, but it is impossible to determine the dates of birth and burial.