Guide to Jewish Cemetery Preservation in Western Ukraine

Jewish cementary Kalush

Jewish cementary Kalush


This guide

This website provides information and guidance to assist leaders, activists, and volunteers in the care and rehabilitation of Jewish cemeteries in western Ukraine. Included here are “best practices” (processes, methods, tools), plus a collection of resources (texts, websites, videos) relevant to the work, selected case studies of local and other cemetery projects, and links to independent organizations working to document Jewish cemeteries in the region. Although the guide has been developed for the specific needs of Jewish cemeteries in western Ukraine, portions of it may benefit individuals, organizations, and projects beyond the region and in other areas of heritage preservation and care. The information has been pulled from a broad variety of foreign and domestic resources working in a number of different disciplines.

This guide and its web publication is a result of a research project led by Marla Raucher Osborn for Rohatyn Jewish Heritage (RJH), a Ukrainian non-profit NGO, and supported by the US Fulbright Scholar Program during the 2019-2020 academic year. Information resources and recommendations in the guide come from the cemetery project experience of RJH during its first decade, significantly amplified by the expertise of individuals and organizations who have have partnered with and generously advised RJH over the past years; we are pleased and grateful to acknowledge their help throughout this website. Together we recognize the regional Jewish cemeteries as shared cultural heritage which bridges between the contemporary local communities, the families of Jewish people who have lived in these places, and the world.


Цей вебсайт надає інформацію та настанови для допомоги лідерам, активістам та волонтерам дбати й відновлювати єврейські кладовища на заході України. Тут вміщений “передовий досвід” (процеси, методи, засоби), а також вибірка ресурсів (текстів, вебсайтів, відео), що стосуються роботи, окремі тематичні дослідження місцевих та інших проектів над цвинтарями, а також посилання на незалежні організації, що працюють над документацією єврейських цвинтарів у регіоні. Хоча цей путівник розроблений для конкретних потреб єврейських кладовищ на заході України, його частини можуть також використовувати окремі особи, організації та проекти за межами регіону та в інших районах збереження та догляду за спадщиною. Ми зібрали інформацію з широкого розмаїття іноземних та внутрішніх ресурсів, опрацьовуючи ряд різних дисциплін.

Путівник та його веб-публікація – наслідок дослідницького проекту, що проводиться Марлою Раучер Осборн для Єврейської спадщини Рогатина (ЄСР), української неприбуткової НУО, та підтримується американською Програмою наукових обмінів імені Фулбрайта впродовж 2019-2020 академічного року. Інформаційні ресурси та рекомендації у путівнику взяті з проектного досвіду щодо кладовищ ЄСР впродовж її першої декади, що значно посилюється експертними знаннями окремих осіб та організацій, які співпрацювали та щедро ділилися порадами кілька останніх років; ми із задоволенням і вдячністю висловлюємо свою прихильність за їхню допомогу на цьому вебсайті. Разом ми визнаємо регіональні єврейські кладовища спільною культурною спадщиною, що зводить мости між теперішніми місцевими громадами, сім’ями єврейських людей, які проживали у цих місцях, та світом.

Case Studies: Selected Projects at Jewish Cemeteries in Western Ukraine


The core part of the Jewish cemetery preservation information and guidance provided on this website takes the form of best practices, i.e. methods and tools to conduct one or more types of common cemetery projects. That practical advice is supplemented by a large resource section on this website, with links to references and information in a variety of media formats from many experts in a wide range of fields. This page presents an introduction to a third section of the website, which documents in summary form a number of actual Jewish cemetery projects which have been implemented and/or are currently in progress in western Ukraine.

For any one type of cemetery project, usually there are many different approaches which may be applied – with a range of complexity and cost, of chances of success, and of sustainability. Seeing what others have done and how they have done it can provide valuable knowledge about choices and risks facing new project leaders.

Elsewhere on this website we have compiled linked lists of all identified Jewish burial places in western Ukraine, and on a separate page we have also catalogued all preservation projects we knowof at Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in the region. On this page we have selected a small fraction of those projects which we believe are instructive for others in their objectives, their effort and cost, and their interrelationship with other projects at the same sites. Not all of the projects summarized here have been ultimately successful; there are also lessons to be learned from partial success and from only temporary success.

The selected projects listed here are in roughly the same order as the phases of the guide. The first several projects are “non-contact”, intended to publicly document the burial sites focusing on one or more perspectives and data sets but without physically altering the sites. The next projects are physical in a variety of ways, each intended to retard or reverse the loss of memorial significance at the sites, by pushing back natural decay or by adding new markers or signs to focus the thoughts of visitors. The project list is rounded out by efforts to engage people around the world in learning or re-learning about specific heritage sites, and by projects in which a single activist organization attempts to advance multiple preservation projects at a single site in order to rehabilitate and conserve a burial place in several ways.

Appended to the project list are summaries about a few example burial sites where there is no known active project, both where the sites are stable with no apparent physical risks, and other sites where damage is already obvious and/or where the risk of greater damage is apparent. These examples are included here because a great many Jewish cemeteries and mass graves in western Ukraine are threatened, but, faced with limited resources, activists working in the region need to consider a kind of triage to prioritize efforts at preservation.

All of the projects described here are situated in western Ukraine. For each project, a brief summary gives the site location and status together with a note about other projects at the same site. The project is then analyzed in context of the site’s history and relevant features, specific project actions and their effects, problems encountered during the work, single and/or recurring costs, and recognized risks to perpetuation of the work. For comparison, other similar projects in western Ukraine are listed and linked, as are related projects outside of the region; sometimes the most detailed and useful examples of cemetery preservation projects are elsewhere in Europe or even further abroad, although the tools, issues, and costs can differ significantly with distance from western Ukraine.

Case Studies, By Project Category

In the list below, projects are noted by their type and their location, and a number code is appended for our internal reference. Projects are grouped as described above, but most projects have more than one aspect as detailed on the project pages themselves.

Refer to the guide overview for a summary of typical project types and phases.

Note: For the case studies listed below which are not yet linked, we are still assembling the summary information for the pages, and hope to have them completed soon. Please check this page occasionally to see our progress.



Headstone Recovery and Return: Lviv Barvinok Street

Landscaping and Memorial Site Plan: Rohatyn 1942 Mass Grave
Headstone Conservation and Resetting: Rozdil Cemetery

Derelict Project / Stable: Rudky Mass Grave Memorial Monument

This list of selected case studies is not intended to describe every important project in western Ukraine; a full project list is given on a separate page. Suggestions for key projects which will fill significant gaps in the case studies listed here may be forwarded to the contacts at Rohatyn Jewish Heritage for consideration.