by Samuel D. Gruber
Visitors to L’viv (formerly
The cemetery was devastated during the German occupation of then-Polish
The small Jewish community of L’viv protested, and asked for the cemetery to be returned to the community, and respected as a burial ground. In 1995 the city cited costs for moving the market at between $1 million and $2 million US dollars. Continued negotiations led to the recognition of the historic character of the site, and the signing of a protocol in 1996 stating the intent that the market should be moved and the cemetery restored in some way, to reflect its religious and historic significance. Several important political figures in the
In 1997 US AID prepared a detailed review of the situation, reporting local estimates for the cost of removal of the market to another location, creation of the new market, and some form of restoration of the cemetery at between $4 and 12 million. Part of this was economic realism, but part was probably an attempt at political extortion. The municipality could say they wanted to do the right thing, but could not afford it.
In any case, no agency – private or public - was willing to put up that kind of money. And after a few years without moving, the market began to expand. What was once temporary has taken on a more and more permanent appearance. Part of that has been due to the erection of more and more market buildings, many of which have required some disturbance of the below-ground burials to allow their construction.
Now, a number of circumstances have people looking at the situation again. Some successfully negotiated projects removing structures from cemeteries in
For now, the bustling market is more successful than ever, and more an essential, and seemingly traditional, part of L’viv’s urban life. There are absolutely no indications anyway - signs, symbols, memorial – about the history of this site and guide books and on-line tourist sites rarely mention anything more than the colorful produce and handcrafts for sale.
Readers who have information or questions about the cemetery are encouraged to contact ISJM.