JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Cemetery Projects: What we translate from inscription on the monumnet and what we do not... #general

Yefim Kogan

Hello everybody,

More about the cemetery projects, and I want to talk about what is
translated and entered into JOWBR and what information we do not translate.

- Of course we are translating everything about the person buried in that
grave: Names, Date of birth, Date of death, sometimes only Hebrew dates.
Occasionally we also have on the grave profession of the person or some
honorary degree or military rank.

- Also on many graves in Ukraine, Moldova you can find a pictures or
engravings of the deceased people. Actually, I found pictures at the
monuments at Cleveland, OH cemeteries, and also in Israel in cemeteries near

- Many writings for people died in 1950-1970s in cemeteries in Eastern
Europe have other names listed. It is mostly in memory of family members who
died on fronts of the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) or during evacuation or in
concentration camps. There are might be a name of a son killed or missing in
action in 1941 on a front of a war or ten people >from one family killed by hands of
fascists. I saw also names of people who were persihed in the battles for
Stalingrad, or died in Tashkent during evacuation. I am now working on a sector
for the Kishinev Jewish cemetery, doing the "second" reading, and sector has about
3,000 burial sites. On these graves I think there are approximately 5,000
names listed. We are adding these names of perished in the war in th eComments,
and these names also are searchable and all these names will be displayed in JOWBR.

I strongly believe that this is our duty to put every name we can read to our JOWBR
database regardles if person was buried in that cemetery or died somewhere else.

I want to give you an example >from the grave of my grandmother Elka Shabsovna
Kogan (z''l) (1902-1969), see image at

You see 3 other names on her monument:

- Kogan Meer Peysakhovich, 1894 - 1944. It is Elka's husband, my grandfather. He
was conscripted to the labor army to work in Siberia in Kemerovo oblast in a coal
mine, and was killed by a wagon.

- Spivak Fanya Khaimovna, 1896-1941. This is my other grandmother, who died in a
shtetl Kaushany, Moldova before the war started on the territory of Soviet Union.
As my parents told me, the monument for her grave arrived a few days before they
had to evacuate to the East, and after the war everything was lost, the cemetery
was almost destroyed by local, and later completely disappeared, and now it is a
potato field with a number of houses build on top...

- Tismenetskiy David Mikhaylovich, my distant relative, died during the war.

There is no monument for either of them, and their names in Kishinev cemetery is
the reminder of their lives.

Now I should tell you what we are not translating. On many monuments you can find
information of a surviving family. It might be written that wife and son are
mourning the loss (that is valuable genealogical information), or son and grandson
will remember the deseased, or even you see a name of a person who put in the
monument, like daughter Lisa is mourning the great loss of her father. We are not
translating that information, first because these people were live at the time of
the burial, and I felt that it may not be appropriete to list such names in the
Burial registry. Also in some cases, surviving person could write a poem on a
stone, or a letter, and that is difficult to translate. Finally, it is a lot of
additional work for translators, and we have a number of cemeteries we did not
index at all.

Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions.

all the best,
Yefim Kogan
JewishGen Bessarabia SIG Leader and Coordinator

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