Vanished World: Galicia’s Jewish Cemeteries

Galicia was once home to a large Jewish population. Before the war, Jews were the third most numerous ethnic group in the region, after Poles and Ukrainians, and all Galician cities and towns had vibrant Jewish communities. Much of this heritage was destroyed during the war and most of what remains is in ruins.

For many years Christian Herrmann has been documenting Jewish remnants in Eastern Europe, especially in Galicia. He shares his photographs and experiences on his blog Vanished World:  “Nearly 70 years after the holocaust Eastern Europe is still covered by neglected Jewish cemeteries, ruins of synagogues and other remains of  Jewish institutions – stranded ships at the shores of time. The traces of Jewish life are still there, but they vanish day by day. It’s only a matter of time until they are gone forever…This blog tries to recall those places into public consciousness and wants to encourage people for the rescue of a heritage we all share.”

During the war, Jewish cemeteries around Galicia were destroyed and headstones were used by the Nazis and Soviets to pave roads, parking lots, and paths, such as was the case in Lviv. But scattered throughout the Galician landscape, one can still find many surviving Jewish cemeteries, some of which have existed for centuries. Neglected for decades, these cemeteries are in a poor state, often overgrown, with sunken, toppled, and crumbling gravestones. Fortunately, some of them are being recovered and cleaned up thanks to organizations such as the Lviv Volunteer Center, Rohatyn Jewish Heritage, and the Matzevah Foundation.

Below I’ve gathered twelve of Christian’s photographs of Jewish cemeteries from across Galicia.

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Berezhany Jewish Cemetery Photo: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Brody Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Busk Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Holohory Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Zolotyi Potik Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Kosiv Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Kuty Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Stari Kuty Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Olesko Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Staryi Sambir Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Ternopil Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Zbarazh New Jewish CemeteryPhoto: Christian Herrmann, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

2 thoughts on “Vanished World: Galicia’s Jewish Cemeteries

  1. .very sad !!! But at least you can recover sam history not to bealtle you cose but think about those cemetari s that were level with the budozers and nothing wos left like Gree katolik cmetari in Jarosław.l am glad thet you are able to do that recovery in cooperatin with Ukranienan govermant and local piple

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