Region: Khelmnitsky. There are two cemeteries, one across the steet from the other. The old one, the 17-18th century, is almost a total loss. About two dozen gravestones are under the muck and the cows. The area covered is very large because Ostropol was an important Jewish center. The other, the "new" Jewish cemetery across the steet is in good shape because Polonsky worked hard on it. After the war, Mr. Polonsky returned to his town and made the preserving the remaining Jewish cemetery his life's work. He is now old. When he dies, he thinks the cemetery will be obliterated. Distance from larger towns or centers: between Starokonstontinov and Berdichev. I have tried to contact him to support him via the local American Peace Corps staff located nearby. Herschel of Ostropol lived here. The Jewish cemetery was established in the 17th century with last known Jewish burial in 1940's. The isolated rural flat land cemetery is in the back yard of someone's house. Reached by turning directly off a public road and crossing private property, access is open to all with no wall or fence or gate. About fifty gravestones are most in good shape and original position with about 50% toppled or broken. Location of stones removed from the cemetery is unknown. The vegetation overgrowth in the cemetery is a constant problem damaging stones, while water drainage is a seasonal problem. The 18th century marble, granite and/or limestone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones, with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, or common gravestones have Hebrew inscriptions. Some tombstones have traces of painting on their surfaces, iron decorations or lettering, portraits on stones and/or metal fences around graves as well. The present owner of the cemetery property is unknown. Properties adjacent to the cemetery are agricultural and residential. Compared to 1939, the cemetery boundaries enclose a smaller area. It is rarely visited. The cemetery was vandalized during World War II and occasionaly in the last ten years. An old Jewish man resident living next door is not paid. He did re-erection of stones, patched broken stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixing of wall, fixed gate and continually maintained by the resident old Jewish man who lives next door who is not paid. There are no structures. When the old Jewish man dies, if nothing is done, the cemetery stones will probably be used in local construction, as well as those in the old Jewish cemetery across the road.
Dean Echenberg MD, 406 Arkansas, San Francisco Ca 94107; phone: 414-826-1977 completed survey on July 27, 1996. The site was visited in 1988 and 1992. Echenberg, a public health physician, visited the town and site twice while working with the US Government. Echenberg maintains an active family organization interested in preserving the cemetery.