Geder Avos

Talne was home to a Jewish presence since at least the mid-18th century, with records documenting a Cossack attack on the town’s Jewish community in 1768. In the wake of this, the community made efforts to recover, numbering 1,807 by the 1848 census and continuing to grow until the end of the 19th century, when they numbered 5,452. By 1910, the Talne Jewish community had a synagogue, four houses of prayer, a Talmud Torah, and a private men’s college. The town’s Jewish population peaked at this point, numbering around 10,000 in 1912. However, the beginning of the 20th century brought new hardships, with the Jewish community facing pogroms from both the Soviets and Denikin’s White Army, leading the dozens of deaths and the burning of the synagogue.

By the outbreak of WWII, the community had dwindled and numbered only 1,866. Upon the arrival of Nazi forces, around 2,000 Jews from Talne and the surrounding region were murdered. Throughout the occupation, many Jewish refugees attempting to flee East were sadly caught in Talne and subjected to the same fate as the local community. By the end of the war, the town had seen the murder of around 5,000 Jews.

When ESJF first visited this cemetery in 2019, as part of the European Commission-funded pilot project, “Protecting the Jewish Cemeteries of Europe”, it was found to be in a state of disrepair. Built on a slope, many of the tombstones had long since sunk into the ground or tumbled from their original spots, and it was evident protective measures were required. Despite the logistical difficulties imposed by the incline, we are pleased to say that in 2021 ESJF with the support of Geder Avos and American Jewish philanthropic organizations cleared the site, demarcated the boundaries, and erected a fence around the cemetery.

This centuries-old cemetery is now clearly marked and protected.

click to view larger images: