|ULMENI: Maramures judet|
Alternate names: Ulmeni [Rom], Szamostóhát [Hun], Ţohat. 47°28' N, 23°18' E, 1920 Jewish population: 102.
US Commission No. ROCE-0379 - Reference Number: RO/MM/75
Alternate/former Hungarian name: Sülelmed. Located at 47°28' 23°18', 248.8 miles NNW of Bucharest. According to the map, the fastest route from Baia Mare to Ulmeni is via the town of Mireşu Mare. However, if coming from this direction be prepared to take the hand-winched floating raft across the Someş river, which you might have to share with heavy cattle-filled trucks. For less adventurous souls, a better approach would be via the towns of Ardusat, Farcasa and Salsig. Entering the town from the north, travel to the center of the village until you see the Heroes Monument on the right-hand side. Take the road on the right and cross the railroad tracks. Then, take the first road on the left and bear left at the first intersection. The cemetery is located on the left towards the end of Strada Depozitului.
The cemetery in Ulmeni was on the list of known cemeteries from the Baia Mare Jewish community, which indicated that a concrete post and wire mesh fence was constructed in 1989 and that it did not have a caretaker. The stones in the cemetery are in very good condition and are relatively large compared to many other cemeteries in the region. All but one of the stones were still standing. Most of them appeared to be suffering very little loss of detail due to weathering. Many of the stones, particularly the seven obelisks, were made of marble and, to our surprise, had not disappeared over the years as marble stones typically seem to do in many of the cemeteries that we have visited.
Strada Depozitului, the street leading to the cemetery, indicated that it was potentially located in an industrial area. Indeed, the cemetery proved to be surrounded by light industrial buildings. On first approach, the cemetery appeared very majestic with the tops of tall obelisks pointing straight towards the sky. As we came closer, we noticed that the wire mesh from the original fence had vanished and that only the concrete posts remained. The real shock came when we stepped out of our vehicle and began approaching the cemetery. Ulmeni is located in a low flat region of the country with large spreads of agriculture. The Jewish cemetery is located in a patch of particularly low-lying ground off to the side of the street and has very poor water drainage. The cemetery was covered with several deep pools of water that made our approach to and movement around the site very difficult. Furthermore, the enormous quantity of refuse that typically decorates industrial landscapes in Romania had found its way into the cemetery and was floating and marooned in the pools of water. Among the refuse were unidentifiable chemical containers and used car batteries. Most of the vegetation around the site was dead, either due to prolonged exposure to excessive quantities of water or the presence of some toxic chemical.
Essentially, the cemetery in Ulmeni is currently situated in a marshy, toxic trash pit, making its location on Strada Depozitului (Street of the Deposit) ironic in the saddest of ways. We managed to brave the conditions and entered the cemetery, made our counts, took a few photos, and left with a sickened feeling. The cemetery in Ulmeni is badly in need of a dedicated caretaker. It has a potentially striking and particularly beautiful appearance and certainly does not merit the conditions that it currently suffers.
In the village of Mînău, several kilometers west of Ulmeni, we stopped to inquire about the presence of a Jewish cemetery. None of the locals knew of any such place in the village though one elderly lady recalled that "...when the Jews were taken away from here they were all young, I don't think any of them died here." This same woman recalled two names of Jewish people who had lived in the village: Naci and Lazar.
Present size of cemetery is by on-site estimate: 175 sq.m. 17 gravestones are in cemetery, regardless of condition or position: 11 standing straight up, 1 toppled, 5 leaning, and two stumps visible where stones once stood. Stones have been removed from the cemetery. The marble and granite flat shaped, smoothed and inscribed, or obelisks, some with traces of painting on their surfaces have Hebrew inscriptions. A cement grave boundary exists. No known mass graves. The cemetery property is now used for waste dumping. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are commercial or industrial in a village residential setting, e.g. very near to houses with adjacent gardens, orchards and pastures). The cemetery is known to have been vandalized frequently in the last ten years. The 1989 installation of stolen wall and gate by the Jewish community in Baie Mare were the only maintenance. No current care. No structures. Very serious threats are uncontrolled access, weather erosion. pollution, vandalism, and incompatible nearby development (existing.)
John DeMetrick and Christina Crowder, formerly of Cluj-Napoca, visited the site on 26 June 2002 and completed this survey on 29 June 2000 using a list of cemeteries known by Jewish Community in Baia Mare. They have no further information. Other documentation exists. No interviews.
|Last Updated on Monday, 20 August 2012 15:33|