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BELARUS - THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

Belarus Cemetery Law was enacted in 2001 that applies to cemeteries of all faiths, including Jewish cemeteries. Some new addendums were added in 2007. Any cemetery unused for 25 years can be reclaimed for other purposes. Owning to the murder of entire Jewish communities by Germans and their Lithuanian, Latvian and Ukrainian partners in the 1941-44 period, the bulk of Jewish cemeteries fell under this law during the years 1966-69. [March 2009]
According to the new cemetery law, all cemeteries can be redeveloped no earlier than in 50 years since the last burial was made and only can be  replaced by a park or something that does not require deep digging into a ground. Buildings can be built 100 years after the last burial. J This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (website of Jewish Heritage Research group: preservation of cemeteries and objects of Jewish heritage). Yuri Dorn [July 2010]

Links for Belarussian Jewry [March 2009]
MAPS of various Belarussian cities: 

Belarus SIG on JewishGen
Shtetls of Belarus links have more information for various towns listed in the Cemetery Project.

JewishGen's ShtetlSeeker references border changes to locate a given town. [February 2009]

Jewish Community information:

2010 UPDATE ON CONDITIONS IN BELARUS: Communists started to destroy Jewish cemeteries in eastern Belarus in the second half of the 1930s. One example is the former Minsk Jewish cemetery, which was replaced by a stadium "Dinamo" in 1937. During WII, Germans used tombstones from Jewish cemeteries to build roads, dams, and forts. Also German Nazi collaborators executed Jewish population in the Jewish cemetery sites. Today these mass graves are commemorated with Holocaust memorials (Minsk, Novogrudok, Volozhin, Radun, Braslav, and Dolginovo). After the war, most of the Belorussian Jewish cemeteries were closed to new burials. In some places, the local population reused Jewish tombstones for their non-Jewish relatives and to build houses. In 1960s, Soviets started to build on the old Jewish cemeteries and replaced them with stadiums, such as in Grodno, Gomel, Brest; apartment complexes such as in Slutzk, Voronovo, Lida, Lyakhovichy, and Pinsk. Since the end of the 1980s after the fall of the Soviet regime, Jewish cemeteries began to get more attention, mostly from descendants and from Jewish organizations. Some cemeteries were cleaned, tombstones reerected and cleaned, photographed and catalogued.  Belorussian Jewish organizations took responsibility to maintain some of the old Jewish cemeteries. Despite all the efforts, the majority of old Jewish cemeteries in Belarus are still abandoned. international Very few active Jewish cemeteries remain, some are in Bobruisk, Borisov, Mogilev, Vitebsk, and Orsha. One cemetery (with wooden tombstones and founded in 1568) is located in the village called Lenin. Some famous Rabbis are buried in Belorussian Jewish cemeteries, well known pilgrimage sites such as Borisov, Grodno, Radun, Volozhin, Slonim, and Mir. Source: Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus, 220002 Minsk, 13B Daumana St. tel/375-173-345612 and fax/375-173-343360.
[July 2010]

2002 UPDATE ON CONDITIONS IN BELARUS: Legislation effecting cemeteries that were inactive for twenty-five years (of all religious faiths) was promulgated under Soviet rule. More than just Jewish sites suffered. The murder of entire Jewish community in 1941-44 left Jewish cemeteries prey to this law in 1966-1969 but the central Minsk Dynamo Market sits atop the Russian Orthodox cemetery. Many religious buildings of all faiths were subject to Soviet "adaptive reuse." Also, during the 1991-1994 transitional period, some cemeteries were partially destroyed. Under the current government, supportive to the Jewish community, this practice ceased. Minsk has no Jewish cemetery, but development of the old cemetery property is prohibited by the Minsk city government. Bobruisk and Mogilev cemeteries are still active. Mogilev recently received additional cemetery space from the local authority. The East European Jewish Heritage Project ( ) negotiated with the Belarussian Committee for the Preservation of the Nation's Heritage to protect Belarus' Jewish cemeteries. To be protected, indexing and mapping of headstones must be done and a barrier (fence, wall, hedge) must be erected around the site to demarcate its boundaries. The current obstacle to preserving cemeteries is funding; however, these same poor economic conditions also prevent development. Nature and indifference are the main threats to Jewish cemeteries in Belarus. Small, unattended cemeteries become overgrown, as memorial markers topple, damaged by vegetation and weathering. Rural sites disappear under secondary forests. Today, few Jews throughout the world donate to the preservation or maintenance of these cemeteries. The largest international Jewish 'aid' organization participating in restoration in the past announced a 40% reduction in this year's aid. Jews are responsible for our own heritage throughout the world. Because the present Belarussian government now supports the Jewish community, preserving the physical remains of our heritage is imperative. The East European Jewish Heritage Project will assist. Contact Franklin J. Swartz, Executive Director, East European Jewish Heritage Project [March 2002] Franklin J. Swartz, Executive Director, East European Jewish Heritage Project, c/o Voluntas
P. O. Box 100, Minsk 220074, Republic of Belarus. Belarus Tel: +375 17 252 7314 Belarus Mob: +375 29 699 4016. Fax: +375 271 4736. London Tel: +44 20 7193 5474. Boston, MA Tel: +1 617 418 3202.


REFERENCE: History of Jews in Belorussia and Ukraine by Dymshytz, St-Petersburg, 1944. Almost all the cemeteries described are on hills, sometimes covered by woods. The most ancient ones were destroyed although some of them exist today on the original places. Many Jewish cemeteries are converted into Christians ones. Usually the stones are 1m-1.2-m high and 0.5-m width. The reverse side of the stone is not polished. The top of the stone is half-round and sometimes partially broken as an image of sorrow. The decor is very limited with sometimes a Star of David and sometimes blessing hands or menorah. The images are dated second half of the last century: in MIR-a bird, in SHARKOVCHINA-a lion, in DRUE and DISNA-a lion, a bird and floral ornamentation. Source: Irene Kudish
Title Filter     Display # 
# Article Title
1 ADELSK: Hrodna
2 ALEKSIC: Minsk (Khoiniki)
3 AMDUR: see Indura
4 ANDRONIKI: Mogilev
5 ANTOPAL: Brest
6 ASHMYANY: Hrodna
7 ASIPOVICHY: Mahilyow raion and voblast
8 ASMENA: see Ashmyany
9 ASTRAVYETS::Astravets raion, Hrodna voblast
10 ASVIEJA: Vyerkhnyazdvinsk Raion, Vitsebsk
11 AZIARNICA: Slonim, Hrodno
12 BABINAVICY: Babinovichi, Vitebsk
13 BABOVNYA: MINSK
14 BABRUYSK: Babruysk , Mahilyow, Bobroisk ,Bobrujsk , , Bobruisk, Babrujsk, Babruisk.
15 BAHUSEUSK: (Bogushëvsk, Boguszewsk, Bogashevskaya): Syanno, Vitbesk
16 BAKSHTY:
17 BARANAVICHI: Brest
18 BARANAVICHY :Brest Obl;ast, [BARANOVICHI, BARANOWICZE, BARANOVICH, BARANOVITCH, BARANOVITSH, BARANOVITS, BARANOVITSH, BARANOVICHE, BARANAVIČY [
19 BARYSAW: (Borisov) Minsk
20 BEGOML': Minsk
21 BELITSA: Hrodo, formerly Lida, Vilna
22 BENYAKONI: see BYENYAKONI
23 BERAZINO: Minsk
24 BESHENKOVICHI: Vitebsk
25 BESHENKOVICHI: [Beshankovichy, Bieszenkowicze] Vitebsk oblast
26 BIALYNICHY: Mogilev
27 BIAROZA: Brest
28 BOBR: Minsk
29 BOBRUISK: see BABRUYSK:
30 BOBYNICHI
31 BOCHEIKOVO: Vitebsk
32 BOGINO: Vitebsk
33 BOGUSHEVICHI: Minsk
34 BOLSHOYE SELO: see VELKAVES
35 BORISOV: see BARYSAW , Minsk
36 BRASLOV: Vitebsk/Kovno
37 BREST: Brest
38 BRONNAYA GORA
39 BUTIN: Grodno
40 BYALYNICHY: Mogilev
41 BYENYAKONI:
42 BYEREZINO/BEREZIN: Minsk
43 BYESHANKOVICHY: Vitebsk
44 BYKHAW: Mogilev
45 BYKHOV: See Bykhaw
46 BYTEN: Grodno
47 CHACHERSK: Mogilev[Chechersk. Czeczersk,
48 CHASHNIKI: Vitebsk
49 CHATYN: see KHATYN
50 CHAUSY: Mogilev
51 CHAVUSY: Brest/Mogilev
52 CHEDRIN: : see Shchadryn and SELIBA
53 CHEREYA: Mogilev
54 CHERNEVKA: Mogilev
55 CHERVEN (Igumen): Minsk
56 CHERYKAW (Cherikov): Mogilev
57 CHYRVONAYA SLABADA: Minsk
58 CRAISK: see KRYASK
59 CZECZERSK: see Chachersk
60 DALHINOV: see DOLGINOVO
61 DALHINOW: see DOLGINOVO
62 DANILEVICIAI: see DUNILOVICHI
63 DASCHKOVKA: Mogilev
64 DAVID-GORODOK: Brest
65 DEDILOVICHI: Minsk
66 DELYATICHI: Minsk
67 DERECHIN: Grodno
68 DEREVNA: Minsk
69 DISNA: Vitebsk
70 DOBROVOLYA: see PINSK
71 DOHLHINEV: see DOLGINOVO
72 DOKSHITZY: Vitebsk (Parafianow)
73 DOLGINOVO: Vilna
74 DOLHINOV: see Dolginovo
75 DRAHICHYN: Brest
76 DRUJA: see Druya
77 DRUYA: Vitebsk
78 DRYBIN: Mogilev
79 DUBROVNO: Vitebsk or Mogilev
80 DUKORA: Minsk
81 DUNILOVICHE: see DUNILOVICHI
82 DUNILOVICHI: Vitebsk
83 DUNILOVICY: see DUNILOVICHI
84 DUNILOWICZE: see DUNILOVICHI
85 DVORETS: Grodno
86 DYATLOVO (Zhetl): Grodno
87 DZERZHINSK (Koidanovo): Minsk
88 DZISNA: see Disna
89 EWIE: see Ivye
90 GEISCHEN: Mogilev
91 GERMANISHKI: Minsk
92 GERMANOVICHE: see GERMANOVICHI
93 GERMANOVICHI: Vitebsk
94 GLUBOKOE (Hlybokaye): Vilna
95 GOLSHANY:
96 GOMEL: Mogilev
97 GORODETZ: Mogilev
98 GORODISHCHE: Minsk
99 GORODOK: Minsk
100 GORODOK: Vitebsk
 
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