The Jewish Cemetery in Shumsk

As a result of the concerted efforts of Gita Inbar, Rachel Karni, Yehuda Lerner, Shimshon Bahat, Benyamin Hofshi, and Mickey Amsel (all of them Israeli descendents of Shumsk), Shumsk resident Albert Shafir, and people who offered financial support for the project, a permanent fence was erected in December 2007 around the Jewish cemetery in Shumsk.  The Jewish cemetery was once at quite a distance from the center of town.  However, the newer part of Shumsk, which is now its busiest part, has grown up quite close to the cemetery. The cemetery is surrounded by industrial and residential development, and many graves succumbed to this development a number of years ago.  The fence surrounding the cemetery will help prevent further destruction. For information on the project, click here. Below are recent images.   And click here for individual photos of all of the existing Shumsk gravestones, with English translation of the inscriptions.

The images below are of how the Jewish cemetery in Shumsk appeared when I visited in 1999, before the establishment of the fence.  Most of the headstones were no longer present, and about a third of the graves were covered over by thicket and trees. 

Underneath the greenery lie many more graves. The horizontal stones do often have information identifying the buried, although degradation over time has made many illegible. Ironically, the trees and overgrowth have actually offered protection to some of the stones from the elements.

This is the best preserved section of the cemetery, with most of the headstones standing.

This is a more typical section, with most of the headstones missing.

Above are examples of well-preserved tombstones (photographs by Mel Werbach).

This was a heartwarming find: the tomb of my great-grandfather's sister Reyzel, grandmother to Lee White and Shirley Levy of the United States, and to Shoshana Reisin of Israel. It reads that Reyzel bat Shmuel Dov died on Lag B'Omer 5695, which was May 18, 1935.