You are here: Home Eastern Europe Ukraine VELIKAYA MIKHAILOVKA
Alternate name: Velyka Mychajlivka, in Ukraine; in pre-Soviet times, Grosolovo, Groslovo and Grosulovo. Maps from the WW II era refer to the town by both names. Velikaya Mikhailovka at 47º04 29º52 is not far from the Moldova border, about 25 km NNE of Tiraspol and just N of Novopetrivka. The population is about 5,000 with no Jews. In 1897, the town had 2,088 residents, of whom 1,201 were Jewish. The Jewish cemetery is located about 100 feet from the edge of Molodyozhnaya Street, up a modestly sloping hill. Looking up the hill from Molodyozhnaya Street, the Jewish cemetery is to the left of a more visible Christain cemetery, which is separated from the Jewish cemetery by a ditch. Wheatfields and cornfields surround both cemeteries. There is a small wooden house and some small wooden outbuildings in the Jewish cemetery. The woman who lives in the house did not mind us the cemetery. There is no fence, gate, or sign marking the cemetery. It is easy to miss, unless one looks carefully. The cemetery contains about 30 headstones, all in their original position. Only about a dozen are legible. The headstones probably date to the late 19th and early 20th century. A few date from after WW II, including one from the 1990s. The inscriptions are in Hebrew and Cyrillic. The remaining stones are concentrated in one area of the cemetery, but the shattered remains of other stones can be seen in the vicinity, leading me to believe that the cemetery is now about 1/5 of its original size. (5 acres vs about 1 acre). No doubt many stones were destroyed or removed. Much of the cemetery is overgrown with thorny bushes making access to some of the stones difficult. It is evident that no one cares for it. Seldom, if ever, visited, it is littered with garbage. A synagogue used to be located in the center of the town, about one-mile away, but it burned down before WW II. Small iron gates surround a couple of the stones. There are a couple of obelisks. The stones are made of sandstone, granite and marble, I believe. There are a number of coffin-sized crypts with the tops removed and garbage dumped inside. Aside from the garbage, there is no sign of recent vandalism. My guess is that most destruction occurred in the WW II era. The intact stones are very worn, probably due to environmental factors (acid rain, etc.) There are no mass graves. The town apparently served as a temporary detention center and camp for Jews in the area during WW II, so there very well may be a mass grave nearby. I know of no documentation concerning this cemetery. I believe that no one except the villagers who live nearby is aware of its existence. The report is based on a visit to the Jewish cemetery that I made on July 19, 1998, with the assistance of an interpreter and driver I spoke with two residents: Anatoli Boyko of 54 Shkolnaya Street, and Luba Chukanova of 60 Karbysheva Street. I also consulted new and old maps, the book Where Once We Walked, and Jewish Encyclopedia, printed in Russia and in Cyrillic around 1913. Source: Donald C. Lockhart, 506 High Rock Street, Needham, MA 02492, 781-449-23336; e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [2000]
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