In 1803 one of the first Jewish Cemeteries in Liepaja was established within the port area.
Since 1867, all Jewish burials have taken place to the south part of the cemetery at 18/20 Cenkones Str. As early as 1411 this Jewish area of 11 acres of land and fields at Barenbush was mentioned as leasehold land inherited by the sons of Laurecius Grot.In 1741 this area was again mentioned in the chronicles of St Anna’s Church as being the site of a private Jewish cemetery since the beginning of the 18th century
Cemetery records contain registers going back to 22 September 1889. The Cemetery was first called the “Livas” Cemetery in 1940 and today, including the Jewish section, it covers an area of 5.5 hectares
THE JEWISH CEMETERY IMPROVEMENTS
- Most of those buried in the Liepaja Jewish Cemetery before 1945 have no resident descendants since almost all Jews of Liepaja were killed during the Holocaust.
- Since 2005, the Liepaja Jewish Heritage Foundation, in co-operation with the city’s Cemetery department, has organized regular maintenance of the Jewish Cemetery.
- In 2013 the Foundation organized a wide range of improvements, enrolling the help of many Liepaja Jewish descendants and in 2014, the World Reunion of Liepaja Jewry initiated further restoration works.
- The Foundation considers the Jewish Cemetery improvements as a “Chesed shel emes” (an act of true kindness) for those buried there and their descendants who perished during the Holocaust.
- By restoring the Cemetery and keeping the grounds clear of vegetation as well as repairing and re-erecting gravestones, the Foundation considers it is reviving and honoring the memory of the deceased, their genealogical details at the same time being visibly preserved in stone.
- The Foundation’s expert, Eduard Kaplan, is responsible for a database covering the Liepaja Jewish cemetery plots and assisting in family research including the location of pre-war graves.
- In 2014 the Foundation installed a visitors’ information board providing historical background regarding the Cemetery as well as information on Jewish burial traditions and a plot-by-plot map indicating the sector divisions.
- The Foundation has repaired and re-erected over 57 gravestones with much more work still to be done. There are still many fallen headstones, broken or damaged fences and empty plots where monuments or gravestones once stood.
- The Foundation is committed to continuing the task of restoring and preserving Liepaja’s ancestral Jewish burial sites. However, without the assistance of Liepaja’s Jewish descendants it will be difficult to show respect for the deceased and protect the Liepaja Jewish Cemetery from neglect and disrepair.
- The Foundation also intends to raise public awareness of the urgent need to restore and preserve pre-war graves which are the ultimate symbols of Liepaja’s pre-war Jewish Community
JEWISH BURIAL TRADITIONS
- No activities are allowed in the Jewish cemetery on Saturdays and this includes burials, visits and the laying of wreaths.
- When visiting the Jewish Cemetery, adult males should keep their heads covered. D. LOCATING A FAMILY GRAVE
If you are interested in locating a family grave, please contact us for more information E. RESTORATION AND INSTALLATION OF FAMILY GRAVES
- The Foundation organizes the cleaning and restoration of all types of old or recent headstones.
- The Foundation can assist with the installation of new gravestones by putting descendants or family members in contact with a professional monument company.
- Photos before and after are provided.
The Liepaja Jewish Heritage Foundation is grateful to receive donations towards restoration and preservation of the Liepaja Jewish Cemetery.
Please contact us if:
- you wish to locate a family grave;
- you wish to re-erect a gravestone;
- you wish to repair an old gravestone;
- you wish to repair an existing gravestone;
- you wish to support Jewish Cemetery improvements.