The European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative (ESJF) has announced a “vast research and monitoring project” of Jewish cemeteries across the historic Bucovina regiona, which today straddles Chernivtsi oblast in southern Ukraine as well as parts of northern Moldova and northern Romania.
It said the project will be launched following meetings last week with the office of the Governor of Chernivtsi oblast, the regional council and the city of Chernivtsi. (The ESJF has also announced it will be restoring the roof of the pre-burial house at the Jewish cemetery in Chernivtsi.)
ESJF teams will shortly spread out across the region, surveying the Jewish cemeteries there and monitoring their current state. The project involves the strong cooperation of the regional and local governments and is based in the city of Chernivtsi (historically, a major Jewish centre). With Chernivtsi Airport shortly to open up to direct international flights from a number of locations including Tel Aviv, this project will link up with the creation of important tourist routes across the region. We are very grateful for the support and encouragement for this project from Oleksander Feshuk, Governor of the Chernivtsi region. The research and monitoring project also links up with our new national project across Ukraine with the participation of the Mayor of Kyiv and the Association of Mayors of Ukraine’s Towns and Villages.
Surveys of Jewish cemeteries (and other heritage sites) were carried out in Romania and Ukraine by the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad in the 1990s.
The Bukovina region includes scores of Jewish cemeteries, many of them with gravestones exhibiting extraordinary carved decoration.
The old Jewish cemetery in Siret, Romania, on the border with Ukraine, dates from as early as the 16th century and is listed as a national monument. It is one of three Jewish cemeteries in the town. We wrote in 2013 how tri-lingual signage has been put up to mark the historic Old Jewish Cemetery and the synagogue, as well as other historic sites, in Siret.
Here is a photo essay of Jewish cemeteries in (mainly Romanian) Bucovina.