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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 # 
# Burial Location
201 LYUBCHA: Minsk
202 LYUBONICHI: Miinsk
203 LYUDENEVICHI
204 MALEC: Grodno
205 MASTY: Hrodno
206 MAZYR: Minsk
207 MEDVEDICHY:
208 MIKASEVICY: Minsk
209 MIKHALISHKI: Grodno
210 MIKHANOVICHI: Minsk
211 MINSK: Minsk
212 MIORY: formerly Vilna guberniya
213 MIR: Vitebsk, Minsk
214 MOGILEV (Mahilyow, Mahilyow, Mogilev, Molev, Mohylew, Mohyliv, Mogiliovas, Mohylów, Mogilew, Mahileu, Mohilev, Mahiliou, Mogilyov, Mohliv, Mogilev-na-Dniepr
215 MOLCHAD: Grodno
216 MOLCHADZ: see MOLDCHAD
217 MOLODECHNO (Maladzyechna): Vilna
218 MOTAL: Grodno
219 MOZYR: see MAZYR
220 MSCIZ: Minsk
221 MSTIBOVO: Vitebsk
222 MYADZYEL: Minsk-Vilna
223 MYSH: see NOVAYA MYSH
224 NARACH (Kobilniki): Minsk (Vilna)
225 NAROC: see NARACH
226 NAROWLYA: Gomel (Minsk)
227 NAVAHRUDAK: Grodno [Novogrudok,Novaredok, Novogrudek, Novohorodok, Novradok, Nowogrudok, Nowogradek, Navharadak, Nawahradak, Nowogródek, Navaredok , Naugardukas ,
228 NESVIZH: Minsk
229 NOVAYA MYSH: Brest, Minsk
230 NOVOGRUDOK: see NAVAHRUDAK
231 NOVOYEL'NYA (KOCKI): Grodno
232 NOVY DVOR: Vilna [Novyy Dvor, Nowy Dwór, Novi Dvor, Novy Dvur, Novyy Dvur]
233 NOVY SVERZHEN: Minsk
234 NOWOJELNIA: see Kocki
235 OBCHUGA: Minsk
236 ODELSK: see Adelsk
237 ODELSK: see Adelsk
238 OKTYABR'SKIY RAYON
239 OPSA:
240 ORLYA: formerly Vilna gub [Orla , Orli , Orlowa, Orle, ]
241 ORSHA: Vitebsk
242 OSHMIANY: see ASHMYANY
243 OSHMYANA: see Ashmyany
244 OSOVETS: Mozyr uyezd, Misnk oblast
245 OSTRAVY: Minsk
246 OSTROSHITSKI GORODOK: Minsk
247 OSTRYNA: [Astrin, Ostrino, Ostrin, Astryna, Istrin]
248 OSVEYA: Vyerkhnyazdvinsk Raion, Vitebsk
249 OSVEYA: Vyerkhnyazdvinsk Raion, Vitebsk
250 OSZMIANA: see Ashmyany
251 OZERNITSA: see Aziarnica
252 PARAFIANOV: see DOKSHITZ
253 PASTAVY: Vitebsk/Vilna
254 PESKI: Grodno
255 PIASKI: see PESKI
256 PIESK: see PESKI
257 PINSK: Mogilev, Minsk
258 PLESCHENITSY: Minsk
259 PLISSA: former Vilna
260 POGOST-ZAGORODSKIY: Minsk
261 POLATSK: Vitebsk
262 POLONKA: Minsk
263 POLOTSK: see POLATSK
264 POLOZK: see POLATSK
265 POROZOVO: Grodno
266 POSENICH
267 POSENITZ: Mogilev
268 POSTAVY: Vitebsk, see PASTAVY
269 POTOKI: see ROZANKA
270 PRUZHANY: Brest/Grodno
271 PUHOVICHI: Minsk
272 PYETRYKAW: former Vilna/ now Minsk
273 PYSHNO:
274 RADOSHKOVICHI: Minsk/Vilna
275 RADUN: Voranava district, Hrodna Voblast [Rodin, Radin]
276 RAHACHOW: Gomel
277 RAKOV: Minsk
278 RASNA: Mogilev
279 RATCHEV: see Rogachev
280 RECHITSA: see Rechytsa
281 RECHYTSA: Minsk
282 ROMANOVO: Mogilev
283 ROS: Grodno
284 ROZANKA: Lida uzed. Vilna gub and Grodno (Malewicze)
285 ROZHANKA: see Rozanka
286 ROZINOI: see Ruzhany
287 RUBEL: Minsk
288 RUBEZHEVICHI: Minsk
289 RUZHANKA: see Rozhanka
290 RUZHANY: Brest, Grodno
291 SAMOHKVALOVICHI: Minsk
292 SANEZHNIKI: Mogilev
293 SCHEDRIN: see Seliba
294 SCUCYN: (former Lida uezd, Vilna guberniya) [Shtutchin, Shchuchyn , Szczuczyn]
295 SELETS: Brest/Mogilev
296 SELIBA: Minsk
297 SENNO: Mogilev
298 SHARKOVCHINA: Vilna, Vitebsk
299 SHATSK: Minsk
300 SHCHADRYN: Minsk
 
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