Euroasian Jewish News
Headstones are turned over in a 16th-century Jewish cemetery in Busk, Ukraine | Photo: JCB/Boris Kaimovich
16th-century Jewish tombstones unearthed in Ukraine
Members of the group Jewish Galicia & Bukovina were recently sent to document 16th-century Jewish graves that were unearthed in the town of Busk in western Ukraine.
Dr. Ilia Lurie, a researcher with the organization, told Israel Hayom, "We knew that there was an old grave dating back to 1520 in the Ukrainian town of Busk. The cemetery was apparently built at the end of the 15th century."
The representatives of Jewish Galicia & Bukovina (JCB) were joined by local activists and students from the Herzog College in Jerusalem who have completed a course on European Jewry. Alongside the grave whose existence they were aware of, they were surprised to discover 10 more graves and headstones, which Lurie describes as a "rare find."
"The headstones we discovered were from the 16th century, which was known for riots that destroyed a lot of Jewish symbols and remains," Lurie explained.
Thus far, JCB – whose purpose is to document and make accessible the historic legacy of Jews from Galicia and Bukovina – has documented 15 Jewish cemeteries. These comprise only a small part of the total cemeteries and headstones that existed in these areas. The rest are believed to have been lost.
"Most of the cemeteries were demolished, mainly during the Holocaust, but also under the Soviets, who used the headstones as building materials and to pave roads. Some were even used as foundations for different memorial sites – including one to Lenin," Lurie said.
by Moshe Weistoch