Harbin - Jewish Cemetery


The Jewish Cemetery in Harbin

The construction of the cemetery commenced in 1903. It was originally located at No.54, Dongda Zhi Street behind the Orthodox Eastern Church (google maps Google Maps). In the 1920ies it had to be expanded and was relocated to Tai’an Street (now the site of the Ice Sports Center of Heilongjiang Province,google maps Google Maps). At that time it was the largest among alien residents’ cemeteries with its 2.420 m2.

In 1958, the Chinese authorities decided to move the Jewish Cemetery to the Public Cemetery (since 1991 named Huang Shan Public Cemetery) located on the outskirts about ten kilometers from Harbin in the East (google maps Google Maps). From approximate 3000 graves of which 1200 with tombstones, 853 were selected and transferred to an area of 6.532.00 square meters. On December 31, 1963, the Jewish community stopped functioning. Until that date 23 graves were added to the new location, bringing a total of 876 graves to the site. Only 480 gravestones could be identified today.

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harbin jewish cemetery

Restoration and Relocation of the Cemetery

During the Cultural Revolution, maintenance of the cemetery ceased: Slabs subsided, tombstones inclined, cracked or damaged, and some of the tombstones disappeared. In 1992, after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and China, maintenance on the Jewish Cemetery on the Huang Shan Public Cemetery was restarted. Not only sunken slabs and destructed tombstones at the Jewish Cemetery were repaired, the whole area was maintained and a European styled wall, gate and gallery were constructed.

The Jewish cemetery on the Huang Shan Public Cemetery adjoins in the north to the Chinese Cemetery, and in the west to the Russian Cemetery. An alley beginning at the entrance area of the Jewish cemetery leads to the north. One small lane, branching off from the alley, leads to the eastern and western parts. Besides these two are no other lanes on the cemetery. The area of the Jewish cemetery is divided in three areas comprise graves and tombstones: In a north, northeast and western area. By using the map one can denote where each grave is located (following information refers to the vertical lines of the map):

Area I (North): Line 01-22, Area II (Northeast): Line 22-33, Area III (West): Line 34-44map_description_jewish_cemtery_harbin

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In the centre of the entrance area of the Jewish cemetery stands a monument designed as a Magen David, which was erected in 2006. In the east of this area was built a Tahara-house (according to the Jewish ritual washing procedure of the deceased) by the Chinese in 2004. The whole process of maintenance and enhancement was promoted by a biographical coincidence: Israel´s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's grandfather lived, died, and is buried in Harbin. For this reason the Chinese municipality erected a memorial stone opposite the Tahara-house in honour of the living Israel´s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

magen david harbin