Re: Aerial maps pre WW 2 #austria-czech #hungary #ukraine

Jay Osborn

Israel, you wrote:

> Does anyone know how and where you can locate aerial maps for Hungary
> and Ukraine pre world war 2.
> These map's can be a great source for old cemeteries etc.

I assume you mean aerial photographs, and I regret I don't know of good resources which exactly match your request. However, there are other resources which partially match, which I will describe here. Probably you know these already, but for the benefit of others:

1. ESJF European Jewish Cemeteries Initiative has been locating, surveying, and documenting Jewish cemeteries in central Europe since 2019, and the results of their work are updated online frequently:

Ukraine has already been covered quite extensively, and Hungary is part of the project phase now in progress.

2. Historical cadastral maps of Austria-Hungary covered almost the entire empire, documenting land surveys in tremendous detail and with great accuracy. Not all of the original maps have survived in archives, but many thousands have. Only the western part of Ukraine (former eastern Galicia) was part of the Habsburg Monarchy, but that portion now has a special research project (the Gesher Galicia Map Room) which presents digitally-assembled maps from the 19th century:

These maps clearly show cemeteries of all faiths as they existed at the time of the land surveys. A brief presentation discussing ways to use these maps to research Jewish cemeteries was given at a conference in Vilnius in 2015, and is online:


In Hungary and elsewhere, the Mapire web application overlays historical cadastral maps on both common internet maps and on modern aerial photographic maps:

Archives in each of the "daughter" countries of the Habsburg Monarchy preserve these maps, and some have digitized them and presented them online.

3. Aerial photography was used by the German Luftwaffe during World War II to document areas they controlled and as they were withdrawing from occupied land. More than a million of these photos survived the war and are now held in archives in the US and the UK. The photos are currently being used in Jewish cemetery preservation projects in Poland and Ukraine (and noo doubt beyond) as in these examples of burial sites which remained mostly intact through the war:

and which were extensively destroyed:

Each of these approaches is described on a page outlining survey methods for Jewish cemetery preservation projects (the focus is on western Ukraine but the methods are broadly applicable):

I do hope another reader of this digest will be able to provide information which better fits your specific request; we could all use those resources!

Kind regards,
Jay Osborn

Join to automatically receive all group messages.