Brody Cemetery Project

Project Leaders
Ami Elyasaf, Pamela Weisberger

Project Committee Members
Jan Meisels Allen, Heidi Urich, Benjamin Solomowitz

JewishGen Liaison/Advisor
Nolan Altman

Project Synopsis

The approximately 5,000 tombstones in the Brody, Ukraine cemetery will be photographed and mapped by a team of Lviv, Ukraine-based specialists in cemetery documentation and photography. The inscriptions will be translated and the data entered into the template for JewishGen's Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). The images and inscriptions will be provided to JewishGen and Gesher Galicia so that researchers can obtain the information free of charge on JOWBR or the GG website.

Key Audiences

This project will allow Galician family history researchers to create or fill gaps in their family trees and learn something about their families' Jewish heritage. Where vital records may no longer exist, cemetery records are often the only remaining evidence of a person's life. The material has the potential to be of broader interest to scholars and educators specializing in Jewish history and the Holocaust and specifically in the history of eastern Galicia and the town of Brody.

Project Importance

The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) is a searchable database comprised of individual burial records, tombstone photographs, and descriptions of individual cemeteries. At its launch in July 2003, JOWBR featured 643 cemeteries in 25 countries, with more than 300,000 burial records, and 11,000 tombstone photographs. New cemetery records are added to JOWBR on a regular basis. This project will expand the JOWBR database by approximately 5,000 tombstones.

Jewish cemeteries throughout the world are threatened with vandalism and even extinction. It is vitally important to preserve information about existing Jewish cemeteries so future generations will have the benefit of this aspect of our cultural heritage. In addition, for many Jews, knowledge of their family history perished in the Holocaust. JOWBR is one of several JewishGen activities that will help families fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. JewishGen Inc. is an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage -A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Why Brody is important to people without known Brody roots:
Brody has a very interesting and compelling history that makes the city important not only to those who can trace their ancestral roots to Brody, but to other Eastern European countries. The city was ideally located near the southeastern Russian border and developed into the most successful commercial center in Eastern Europe outside of Lemberg (L'viv). During the 19th century, Brody's Jewish population reached 88% of the city, was organized around the centrally located synagogue but its Jewish population decreased starting after 1880 and the mass migration out of Brody began. After the partitions of Poland, restrictive trade laws were passed causing wealthier Jews to leave. The remaining poor from both the east and west fled to Brody as it was a transportation hub and it took months if not years for many to immigrate from Brody. It is highly possible that researchers with family from Ukrainian and Hungarian towns may find cemetery records for relatives who passed through Brody at one point in time. Additionally, Brody was known for its rabbinical families, including the Katzenellenbogen, Babad, Rokach, Horowitz and Kristianpoller families and its great Kloyz scholars.

Project Description

The research team will spend an estimated 3-7 days in the Brody cemetery preparing the headstones to obtain the best images, photographing the existing stones and mapping the location of each stone using GPS technology. After that the inscriptions will be translated and the data integrated into the JOWBR database at

Estimated Cost. $4,500


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Updated 7 Mar 2011 by LA