Jewish cemetery in the city of Yelsk

The list of Burials and their photos available HERE

Yelsk is a small town in the south of Belarus, where they honor traditions and appreciate the historical heritage. One of the main attractions is the Jewish cemetery. Its origin is attributed to approximately XIX century, although the status of the city of Yelsk was received only in 1971.

Even in pre-war times, the local Jewish population took special care to improve the cemetery, honoring customs. Historical information and personal memories of the former residents were preserved when, on the petition of ordinary citizens, they put new hedges, tinted fences, changed the main gates. Even a monument to the dead Jews was established and ennobled with their efforts, buried in a mass grave. By 1939, at that time a small town was accruing more than a thousand Jews. But during the war, many of them were killed. And by 1998 the number of residents of Jewish nationality in Yelsk had decreased to just a few dozen. And that’s why it was especially problematic to look after the graves there.

But despite the difficulties and in our days there are those who do not forget their roots and find ways to take care of the burial of their relatives. Repatriates and those who have traveled abroad, even from far away, continue to provide regular cleaning of burial places, restoration of monuments and make every effort to preserve their family memory.

Although, of course not all graves can brag about it. Many of them gradually become unknown — the inscriptions are erased, and with them the age-old and multifaceted history of the Yelsk Jews is extinct. Fortunately, there are still those that can still be preserved, and there are people who are not indifferent to their historical roots.


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store