Volunteers of LVC began the work on extracting of matzevah (Jewish gravestones) with which a courtyard of one of the city’s central streets was paved.
On November, 22 excavation and removal of matzevah, used for paving, began in the courtyard of the house on Galitsky St., 15. The works were carried out by the Lviv Volunteer Centre under the All-Ukrainian Charity Jewish Fund “Hesed Arieh”.
According to the volunteers of “Hesed Arieh“ they received an information that the entire courtyard of the house on Galitsky St., 15 was paved with the gravestones from the Jewish cemetery. Among other things, a staircase to the boiler room in the cellar was made of these plates. From that very place volunteers began their work. In general, there can be about one hundred of matzevah in that courtyard.
It is unknown from which cemetery these gravestones were taken and when they were used for the yard paving.
After the gravestones were delivered and stacked up at Yanovsky cemetery, they have been photographed and their inscriptions have been translated. The age and origin of matzevah have been also identified.
As historian Vasily Rasevich explained the Jewish cemeteries were destroyed during the Fascist occupation and matzevah were used not only by them but also later during the Soviet period.
“During the occupation the Germans first started to use matzevah. For example, valuable plates made of marble were not destroyed, but polished and taken away. Matzevah made of ordinary stone were used for streets, alleys and squares paving. There was one striking event: when the monument to Lenin was taken down, in its foundation matzevah from the Jewish cemeteries were found,” told Vasily Rasevich.
That was not for the first time when matzevah were found in Lviv. For example, in Krakov marketplace, which was build in the place of Jewish cemetery, matzevah were used for streets paving and building of walls. According to the information of the Centre for Urban History, the yard of the prison at Lontskoy St. is also paved with the gravestones from the ancient Jewish cemetery. In 2008 gravestones were found in Hanna Barvinok Street. Matzevah were also found during the repair works in 2014 on Sakharov Street. This year a fragment of matzevah was found in Signivka Street.
This is a link to video and photo materials.