Jewish cemetery in Chernigov, Ukraine
As of 2016, there were 11 cemeteries in Chernigov. Only five of them worked. The Jewish cemetery is located on Lyubetskaya Street. It is considered the oldest surviving necropolis and the city's only confessional cemetery.
The exact date of the foundation of the cemetery is unknown. It was established that in the first half of the 19th century, after the creation of the Peter and Paul interfaith cemetery, the Jewish community acquired a plot of land for its own cemetery. After that, the Peter and Paul cemetery received the unofficial name of the Russian cemetery.
During the years of occupation, Jews, fearing reprisals, buried the dead at the Peter and Paul Cemetery. At the same time, the graves of the executed Romanian soldiers appeared in the southwestern part of the cemetery, and in the western part of the cemetery, researchers suggest the presence of a mass grave of Soviet soldiers who died in the battles for the liberation of Chernigov from the invaders.
Researchers assume that there was a room on the territory for reading prayers and preparing the deceased, but no traces of it have survived.
Over the period of the twentieth century, the territory of the cemetery has doubled. If in 1908 it occupied 2.5 hectares, then by 1953 it was about 4.6 hectares. In the XXI century, the area of the cemetery is 4.3 hectares. The earliest burials date back to the first quarter of the 19th century, and the latest to the mid-1970s.
In the cemetery, you can find crypts and matzevahs with inscriptions in both Russian and Hebrew. There are graves with inscriptions in Russian, decorated with Jewish symbols. Most of the gravestones that appeared in the 20th century contain inscriptions in Russian.
The cemetery was badly damaged during the Second World War. After the defeat at Stalingrad, the Nazis destroyed the crypts and graves in the central part with tanks. In 2012, vandals destroyed 19 graves on Shavuot.
After the war, the Soviet government began to pursue a consistent anti-Semitic policy. By 1959, the last synagogue in Chernigov was closed, and the local Jewish community was deregistered. Nearly a decade later, in 1968, the city authorities decided to close the Jewish cemetery, which was 60% full.
Today, the cemetery is under the care of the local Jewish community and operated by the city's utilities.
The cemetery is cataloged. In the electronic catalog, among others, there are 254 graves on which chronological and anthroponomical data are completely or partially missing.