The Czernowitz - Sadgura Cemeteries Restoration Project

Proposal for the Restoration of the Czernowitz and Sadgura Cemeteries

 Many of us who have visited the cemeteries in Czernowitz and Sadgura have expressed a desire to restore and preserve these sites for future generations. To that end, we have been in contact with the Heritage Foundation for Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries (HFPJC), a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration of abandoned and/or neglected Jewish cemeteries throughout Eastern Europe. To date, they have reconstructed tens of cemeteries and rescued thousands of decadent tombstones, many of which have lain in ruin for decades. In the past couple of months alone they have initiated/completed more than a dozen cemetery projects, all upon the request of families and descendants who were immensely grateful to entrust these sacred projects to a professional entity. For a more detailed and graphic description of the HFPJC's activities, goals and mode of operation, you can send an e-mail to the following address-no message needed- in response to which you should receive their Spring PDF brochure. The last few monthly updates of the particular cemetery projects are also available in the same manner via the second e-mail address 

The very first step in the restoration process is to arrange for a professional, on-site evaluation. The latter would include visiting the local government office and obtaining the necessary documents, permits and original survey showing the boundaries of the cemetery, measuring the current site and compare to original, quoting a price for the erection of a durable, concrete enclosure (if necessary), digitally photographing the graveyard, and of course, a general overview of the condition of the grounds and stones, etc. Only then will we have a clear direction as to what the projects will entail. Barring unforeseen problems, the ideal process would be to first and foremost erect a durable enclosure to ensure the cemetery's protection, clear the grounds and restore the broken/toppled/sunken gravestones, and arrange a maintenance contract with a local to ensure the long-time preservation of the cemetery.

The real expenses will only be clear after the initial on-site evaluation and once we get the contractors' quotes. With the support and cooperation of the Czernowitz List group, the projects are entirely feasible. Fortunately, there are numerous descendants of both these cemeteries to significantly ease the process of raising the necessary funds. Our contact at the HFPJC is:

Toby Mendlowitz
Assistant Director
148 Ross Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tel. 800-945-1552
Fax 718-228-8368

At this point we are asking for a $100 contribution to get the project started. Please contact or send your contribution to:

Melita (Fuhrman) Vickter
21243 Ventura Blvd. #134
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
E-mail: Please make your check payable to: JFPJC (tax deductible in the U.S)


Upon first entering the cemetery, there is a prayer house that appears to be in great disrepair. There is evidence of vandalism in that approximately 10 percent of the stones have some damage, and many of the stones are broken in pieces. The vegetative growth is incredible and the weeds are a constant problem. To access the graves of my great-grandparents we walked through an area that was jungle-like where the growth was in excess of 12 feet high.

To see a collection of 17 photographs of the Czernowitz cemetery taken in 2004 by Cornel Fleming - Click HERE


There are many pictures of forgotten graveyards in Eastern Europe both in books and on the web. But when you see this graveyard, you just wanted to cry. How is it possible that we Jews can allow our ancestors' final resting place to be so neglected. There have been several efforts to preserve the cemetery. At one time some foreign Jews erected a fence, only to be removed for private use by the locals. There is no evidence of a fence now. Many of the stones are broken and toppled.

Nearby the cemetery is the palace and synagogue of Rabbi Abraham Jacob Friedman, a descendent of the Rushyn Dynasty. Whenever you see the old postcards from Sadgora there is always a picture of the moorish style castle. Unfortunately in real life, it looks terrible. During the Soviet period it was used as a workshop of some sort, and although it has been returned to the Jewish Community, much work needs to be done to restore it. The interior pictured below is especially deteriorated.

Click HERE to see the pictures of the palace and synagogue