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02 July 2024

Results of the research of the Hlukhiv Jewish Cemetery by scientists of the International scientific research project in 2023-2024

Sumy Historical and Archival Journal
Results of the research of the Hlukhiv Jewish Cemetery by scientists of the International scientific research project in 2023-2024

As part of the implementation of the joint Ukrainian-Israeli research project “Preservation of the cultural heritage of the Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv, Sumy region as the only Jewish necropolis in the east of Ukraine by means of digital humanitarianism” at the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Hlukhiv National Pedagogical University together with scientists from the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem, Israel) the study of the Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery was intensified. In general, the implementation of the project, planned for two years, helps to solve the issue of physical preservation of the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv through the study of Jewish heritage by students and post-graduate students of the Oleksandr Dovzhenko Hlukhiv National Pedagogical University in cooperation with Israeli partners, as well as the creation of a website and a database about a combination of electronic photos, their geodata, information about burials and tombstones. As of 2019, local historians and historians have identified 1,040 tombstones of the Jewish cemetery in Hlukhiv. 438 of them dated from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century (until 1921) and can be considered monuments of local history. In the fall of 2023 and spring of 2024, the participants of the international project conducted reconnaissance and direct study of the tombstones of the Jewish cemetery. The search for hitherto unknown tombstones is being carried out as much as possible, and in cooperation with colleagues from Israel, active work is being carried out to decipher the epitaphs of the tombstones found. In the process of excavation, a number of buried graves were discovered along the western border of the cemetery. So far, as a result of the work carried out, 14 previously unknown burials have been discovered, 6 tombstones of which have been preserved in fragments. Among the newly discovered objects that help to create a collective portrait of the buried, the following women’s burials are of particular interest: an unmarried girl (the name in the epitaph is chipped off), the daughter of Moshe Babad (died in 1916). Next to the gravestones of Sara-Esther, daughter of Pesach Burshtynskyi (died in 1915). A little further in the same row — a matseva from the grave of Fruma, the daughter of Zelika Greenblatt, who died in 1918, was thrown to the ground. Within the framework of a joint international project together with the scientists of the Shechter Institute, it was also possible to decipher the epitaphs of three previously discovered tombstones and update the decipherments of 5 more tombstones that have already been read. In particular, it was possible to read the name of Rivka, who died in 1896. Also, it was possible to decipher the date of death of the deceased (April 10, 1913) on the tombstone of Moisha — the son of Yakov Nepomnyashchy. As a result of thorough cleaning and redrawing of the half-erased inscriptions, it was possible to read the name of the representative of the hereditary honorary citizens of the Lazarevs — a woman buried in 1866, whose name in the Russified version was Luiza Markivna. There is no duplicate inscription in Hebrew on this tombstone. In addition, thanks to the implementation of a joint Ukrainian-Israeli research project, the dates of birth and death of the famous Jewish writer Lazar Davidovych Zweifel, buried at the Hlukhiv cemetery, were read for the first time on the tombstone and now accurately determined. He was born on the Gregorian calendar on April 14, 1815, and died on February 21, 1888. Thus, during the first stage of cooperation between Ukrainian and Israeli scientists, seven epitaphs of newly discovered tombstones and epitaphs of three tombstones, which were previously impossible to read, were deciphered. In addition, clarifications and additions were made to the epitaphs of six more previously discovered tombstones. So, the total number of known burials of the Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery has reached 1056. In cooperation with Israeli colleagues, the texts of the epitaphs of the remaining 8 tombstones found in the field season of autumn 2023 and spring 2024 were deciphered. All of them are monuments of history. The total number of burials of the Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery, which are of interest from the point of view of history, has now increased to 446. Careful and methodical work continues, but even the first modest results allow us to draw conclusions about the presence of another separate plot for the burial of unmarried girls at the Hlukhiv Jewish cemetery along the western border of the cemetery. Also, new finds confirm the location of the burials of the victims of the Jewish pogrom on February 22-23, 1918 in the southwestern part of the cemetery. Therefore, the collected historical data have historical, scientific, ecological and chronological value and allow to determine the peculiarities of the development of the Hlukhiv Jewish community, its most famous representatives, bearers of Jewish traditions and culture during the Soviet times. In the fall of 2024, our research works will receive a further study of fallen and broken tombstones, their lifting and processing of the received information for the purpose of physical and informational preservation of the cemetery as the Jewish heritage of Ukraine, as well as popularization of this topic among the population.

Source: Nazarova V.V., Hrytsenko A.P., Vorona P.S. (2024) Results of the research of the Hlukhiv Jewish Cemetery by scientists of the International scientific research project in 2023-2024. Sumy historical and archival journal. №XLII: 5-16

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