The third Jewish cemetery in Odessa is one of the largest cemeteries in Ukraine. Its origin dates back to 1945 and has about 50 thousand burials. Here, along the numerous avenues, monuments or simple stones rise in memory of those who are no longer with us. However, there are a large number of abandoned graves that have grown with grass and no names at all. In the 1990s, many Jewish families moved massively from Odessa and now there is not always an opportunity to look after the burials of their relatives. According to the Jewish tradition, the graves of relatives are not often visited, on their birthday or in the yahrtzeit. According to the established custom, the flowers are not brought to the grave, but stones. There is an interesting explanation of why stones are brought. In the hot Arabian desert flowers wither very quickly, and the stones are almost eternal.
Before the appearance of the third Jewish cemetery, there were two more with a very interesting and tragic story. The first Jewish cemetery appeared on the shores of the Khadzhibey Estuary even before the advent of Odessa — in the seventies of the XVIII century. There is no trace left of the cemetery. Necropolis was wiped from the face of the Earth during the Great Patriotic War, and in its place grew a stadium and a pit for the future basin.
Odessa is the third city in the world by the number of Jewish population in the 19–20th century. According to the population census, 35% of the population was Jews. The mortality rate was quite large, and there was a need arose for a new cemetery. The second necropolis was founded in 1873 along the Lustdorf road. The fence of the cemetery and the gate were made by the famous Odessa architect A. Minkus.Monuments of the second Jewish cemetery were made of expensive materials.
This place is famous for the fact that many famous personalities and their relatives are buried here: the artist Leonid Pasternak, the great-grandfather of Boris Pasternak, the Russian writer and poet; the writer Mendele-Moyher Sfori; J. Bardach, the founder of the first aid in Odessa; family of doctors Geshelins; architect Adolf Minkus; poet Anatoly Fioletov, brother of Osip Shor, father and grandmother of Isaac Babel; mother of Ilia Ilf; father of cameraman Roman Carmen.
The most terrible annihilation of Jews happened on October 19–21, 1905. During the pogrom died 302 people. All the dead Jews were buried at the second Jewish necropolis.
After the Second World War, the second Jewish cemetery was also destroyed. The government stipulated that the burial grounds, which are not well maintained and defeated, will be removed. And, beginning from the middle of 1950, they began to take out the tombstones. The third Jewish cemetery was moved to the memorial of the victims of the pogrom of 1905, the remains of the rabbis’ burials.
Now the cemetery has a fairly well-groomed appearance despite the large number of abandoned burials. On such graves you can often see half-ruined tombstones, overgrown monuments, almost erased inscriptions.
At the moment, the Third Jewish Cemetery is open for burial. All funerals are performed here according to all religious traditions, and every burial is made according to the requirements of the Jewish law.