POLISKE MASS GRAVE
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Collapse panel 1. Cemetery Location & Access
 
Cemetery ID:  10800
Cemetery Name:  Poliske Mass Grave
Location Vis-À-Vis Above Named Town:  Town outskirts
Address 1:  Tarasa Shevchenko
Address 2: 
Latitude:  51.24975 
Longitude:  29.36135 
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Accessed By:   
Details Of Access:  Along Taras Shevchenko street, on the way to Tarasi. 50m from the Poliske sign. Special permission is needed to visit the site as Poliske is located in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Area Map: 
Cemetery Opening Hours:  The mass grave site itself is open to all, at all times, but permission is needed to visit the area.
Currently In Use:   
 
Collapse panel 2. Information on the Jewish Community
 
City/Town/Village Name:  Poliske
Alternative Names:  Кагановичи - Kaganovichi, Kahanovychi (Formerly), Кагановичі Перші - Kahanovychi Pershi (Formerly), Полесское - Polesskoe (Russian), Поліське - Poliske, Polis'ke (Ukrainian), Хабне - Khabne, Хабно - Khabno (Formerly)
Country:  Ukraine
Region:  Poliskyi Raion - Kyiv Oblast
Latitude:  51.243333 
Longitude: 29.388611 
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Current General Population:  10 - 1000
Current Jewish Population:  None
Jews Of This Town Buried Elsewhere:  Unknown
Date Earliest Known Jewish Community:  1415
Date Last Known Jewish Community:  Early 1990s (Chernobyl Exclusion Zone created)
Jewish Population Before World War II:   
Noteworthy Historical Events Involving
Or Affecting The Jewish Community:  The town of Poliske is located about 110km north-west of Kiev. Originally called Khabno, it was renamed Kaganovichi in 1934, and Polesskoye in 1957. While one of the first mentions of the settlement under the name of Khabno can be dated to 1415, 1215 is considered to be the date of establishment according to the official website of the Poliske region. According to one version of its history, the town was founded by Jews who fled Kiev because of persecution.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, several settlements flourished near Khabno, which was primarily a Jewish area. Zamostya on the left bank of the Uzh River was inhabited by Poles; Sloboda Radzivilovskaya (currently the Volya and Pesok Streets’ area) was inhabited by registered Cossacks and settlers; and Kovtyub (now the end of Volya Street and the area near the bus terminal and the sovkhoz Khabnoye) was populated by serfs belonging to an estate that was located on the territory of the present tuberculosis hospital. In the 19th century these separate settlements joined Khabno and the town’s ethnic diversity increased significantly. According to census results, the Jewish population of the town was 904 in 1847 and 1,721 by 1897. In 1890, 80% of the population was estimated to have been Jewish.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the great Jewish writer Shalom Aleichem wrote about Khabno with great affection and humour. By the beginning of the war, there were two synagogues, one Roman-Catholic church and one Orthodox church in the town. Most of the buildings survive to this day. In the 1930s, Khabno was renamed Kaganovichi Pervyye (Kaganovichi the First) after Lazar Kaganovich, a Jewish Soviet politician and administrator and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party 1928 – 1939 who lived in the town. His birthplace, the village of Kabany (Dubrava), was re-named Kaganovichi Vtoryye (Kaganovichi the Second) at the same time. It is known for certain that, on his arrival to Khabno, Kaganovich spoke only Yiddish. Kaganovich, one of the organisers of the Ukrainian Holodomor, nevertheless helped his hometown by ensuring a supply of grain to the area. Khabno was therefore able to survive the terrible famine of 1933. Kaganovichi Pervyye received official city status in 1938. The city’s Jews were executed on 13 September 1941 and several hundred people were buried alive in the forest nearby. According to eyewitness accounts, Ukrainians were forced to wash the blood from German cars. The mass graves were guarded by submachine gunners as the soil stirred for several more days.
Jews From This Town Are Also Known
To Be Buried In:   
Jews From This Town Are Also Known
To Be Buried Comments:  Unknown
Jewish Community Denomination/s:   
Notable Natives Of The Local Jewish Community:  *Iser Kuperman, a seven-time world champion of draughts, was born in Poliske (then Khabno) on April 21, 1922. *Lazar Kaganovich, a Jewish Soviet politician and administrator and Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party 1928 – 1939, lived in the town.
Additional Comments:  Poliske is located in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Visits are only allowed by special permission.

After the Chernobyl disaster, the town's population started to fall and in 1999 the remaining population was evacuated. While the town is officially uninhabited, in 2005 there were about 1000 people still living there, mostly senior citizens.
 
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Collapse panel 3. Location, Markers, Access & Security
 
Description Of Cemetery Location:  woods/forest
Situated:  on flat land
Isolation Detail:  isolated
Additional Details:  The site of the mass grave is marked by a monument consists of 3 rectangular parts, made of concrete, with a Soviet-era marble plaque with an inscription in Russian and two other makeshift signs. There is no mention that the victims were Jewish. There are large concrete slabs laid over the graves and wreaths have been placed on them.
Road / Entrance Sign:  No
Language Of Sign:   
Sign Text:  n/a
Photo Of Sign: 
Identifiable Features On Sign:   
The Sign Mentions:  the Holocaust
Cemetery Entrance:  gate
Inscription On:   
Inscription Text:  The plaques reads as follows: 1941-45, Ніхто не забутий – Ніщо не забуто (Nobody is forgotte, Nothing is forgotten), Здесь в 1941 году фашистскими захватчиками расстреляно 252 Граждан Района (Here in 1941 Fascist occupiers killed 252 inhabitants of the region).
Cemetery Boundary:  a wooden fence
Additional Comments:  The mass grave is surrounded by a green wooden fence. The area is rectangular and measures 52m x 18m. There is a bench.
Access:  open to all
The Cemetery Is Visited:   
Visited By:   
Current Owner Of Cemetery:  Local Municipality
 
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Collapse panel 4. Current Use / Condition Status / Cemetery Specific Characteristics
Collapse panel 5. Tombstones, Memorial Markers & Structures
Collapse panel 6. Burials Register
Collapse panel 7. Ecological Decay & Vandalism
Collapse panel 8. Maintenance & Restoration
Collapse panel 9. Protected Status
Collapse panel 10. Condition Report
Collapse panel 11. Details of Data Sources
Collapse panel 12. Additional Information
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