Russian Shelling of Ukrainian Jewish Cemetery Miraculously Spares Graves of Prominent Pogrom Martyrs
By: Boropark24 Staff
As the war in Ukraine rages on, news comes of the shelling of a cemetery in Hlukhiv, a town in northeastern Ukraine. “The cemetery is one of the only Jewish cemeteries in the area which dates back that time, and is still designated as a Jewish cemetery,’ Rabbi Yechiel Levitansky, shliach to the region told Boropark24 in an exclusive interview.
The Bolsheviks came to power in October 1917 on a wave of revolutionary optimism—however, in the weeks and months that followed, these hopes were dashed by a dramatic increase in antisemitism. In early 1918, vicious and barbaric pogroms broke out in the town of Głuchów (the original name of Hlukhiv), taking the lives of deeply pious and learned Yidden, as well as temimus’dige souls, al Kiddush Hashem, close to three hundred in total, Hy”d (the government archives list 105 names).
Among them was Rav Menachem Nachurm Shumiatsky who was appointed rov of the town by the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch, his sons Rav Shmuel and Rav Yisroel, Ber Barkan, the shochet of Głuchów, and Reb Aaron Pysemny, a chazzan in the town.
“Despite the Nazis’ destruction of the cemetery, we were able to restore it in 2020,” says Rabbi Levitansky of his joint work with Rabbi Yisroel Meir Gabbai, “and it stands as a monument to the memory of the kedoshim of Głuchów.”
“We found the graves of Rav Yisroel Shumiatsky and his sons, and we were able to erect them, and we also erected a matzeiva for all the martyrs of the pogrom of 1918,” says.
The culture minister of Hlukhiv said in a statement: “The sparing of these holy graves is a clear indication that these great men are watching over Ukraine, and the Russians will soon meet their downfall.”
As the Jews of the area, and of Ukraine in general, await salvation, today we are reminded of the suffering of their forbears more than one hundred years ago.